Asteroid hits Canada, may have dropped meteorites

Asteroid hits Canada, may have dropped meteorites

An asteroid hit Canada and may have dropped meteorites

Astronomers spotted an asteroid just hours before it hit Earth on Saturday morning (November 19, 2022) near Lake Erie in Canada. It is it’s not the first time this year, astronomers detected a rock from space just hours before it hit Earth. But this time it entered Earth’s atmosphere over a populated area, crossing the skies of Toronto, Canada. So we have video and witnesses who saw, heard and felt the impact. And astronomers said locals may be able to find meteorites from the impact.

Canada Western University said the meteorites may have hit the ground near the southern shore of Lake Ontario, mainly north of St. Catharines. Peter Brown from Western University said:

This fireball is particularly significant because the main meteoroid was observed telescopically before it hit the atmosphere. This makes it a rare opportunity to relate telescope data on an asteroid to its atmospheric decay behavior to gain insight into its internal structure.

Researchers asked local residents between Port Weller and Virgil, Ont., to be on the lookout for fragments of the space rock. Brown said:

We know from camera records and weather radars that track falling debris from the fireball that the meteorites almost certainly hit the ground near or east of Grimsby. What we need now to complete this story is to recover some of these rocks and find out what kind of material asteroid 2022 WJ1 is made of. This looks a lot like a sample space return mission, but in this case the sample fell on us.

Read more about how to find meteorites. And if you find any, contact the Royal Ontario Museum at [email protected]

Scientists have mapped this area (red) where meteorites from the November 19, 2022 fireball may have hit the ground. Image via Western University.

First report on upcoming impact

Ye Quanzhian astronomer at the University of Maryland who studies asteroids, comets and meteors, reported on Twitter at 1:13am EST on November 19:

It looks like a space rock will hit the Lake Erie area in ~2 hours (around 3:30am EST)

He shared connection for the hazard assessment page from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. The object, C8FF042, has now been removed from the page because it has hit Earth and is therefore no longer a threat.

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Accurate prediction

At 2:29 am EST, Richard Moisle tweeted that the asteroid should hit around 8:26 UTC, which translates to 3:26am EST. This turned out to be incredibly accurate, as cameras around Toronto captured the car at 3:25 and 3:26 am. The CN Tower camera in Toronto was one of the cameras that saw the near-horizontal entry of the asteroid.

Asteroid witnesses

Fortunately, the space rock was less than a meter (about 3 feet) in size. The impact was supposed to be around Brantford, Ontario. It is north of Lake Erie; west of Buffalo, New York; east of Detroit and southwest of Toronto. With such a populated area, many people had the chance to see the fireball enter the atmosphere. People on Twitter reported seeing the bright flash, along with the sound of entering the atmosphere and even shaking, possibly from the sonic boom. Twitter user @TimsDoubleD said:

I heard it and felt it almost like my house moved. I thought a generator blew up nearby.

Twitter user @SchefflerKen said:

That would have been interesting to see, but at least I heard it. For some reason I had woken up, and a few seconds later the house cracked, as it does when a gust of wind hits it, and then there was a muffled rumble for two or three seconds.

Some observers reported the fireball at magnitude -10 to -20.

Those few hours of time were enough for some to catch C8FF042 with telescopes.

Did you see it? You can report the fireball to the American Meteor Society here.

The asteroid is now called 2022 WJ1

David Rankin discovered asteroid C8FF042 which Center of the small planet has since been baptized WJ1. Information about the newly discovered asteroid has spread to the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML). It said:

Bill Gray has the point of impact on 19 Nov 2022 8:26:54.47 UTC, lat. +43.12309, ext. W80.26416 which is just above Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Sam Dean for MPML said:

The object will have a strong grazing impact of only 10-12 degrees or so and should travel from a west-southwest-northeast direction between Detroit and Buffalo. We should probably expect a pretty spectacular light show given the low angle and large population of the area.

More views from Twitter

Bottom line: On November 19, 2022, a small asteroid struck Canada just hours after its discovery. Researchers urge local residents to be alert for meteorites.

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