A very small asteroid exploded over the continent of Africa this week, confirming the prediction of astronomers. Despite the fact that nobody has seen and photographed the asteroid due to the fact that it entered in a very remote area, it was detected with an infrasound array in Kenya; it exploded without striking the Earth.
Scientists estimate that it was about the size of a table, and it exploded with the energy of a quantity between 1.1 and 2.1 kilotons of TNT. They expected a huge fireball, visible for anybody, but this particular asteroid wasn’t quite ordinary.
“A typical meteor comes from an object the size of a grain of sand,” Gareth Williams of the Minor Planet Center explained just before the highly anticipated event. “This meteor will be a real humdinger in comparison!”
There has been only one visual confirmation of such a fireball.
“I have received confirmation that a KLM airliner, roughly 750 nautical miles southwest of the predicted atmospheric impact position, has observed a short flash just before the expected impact time 0246 UTC,” Kuiper said. “Because of the distance it was not a very large phenomenon, but still a confirmation that some bright meteor has been seen in the predicted direction.”
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.