Telescopes may appear to have become a bit outdated as better and improved mechanism came into existence. However, astronomers once again proved that sometimes old things works the best. Telescopes are capable of providing enough data that can save people’s lives and the University of Hawaii proved it once again by catching an asteroid before it could reach Earth.
ATLAS and Pan-STARR telescope detected the asteroid
The astronomers at The University of Hawaii successfully detected a small asteroid before it could have entered the Earth’s atmosphere. On the morning of 22nd June, the asteroid was detected with the help of Pan-STARRS and ATLAS survey telescopes.
The asteroid is named as 2019 MO and was spotted 310,685 miles away from Earth. 2019 MO was approximately 13 feet in diameter. Around midnight in Hawaii, the asteroid was observed 4 times in a span of 30 minutes by the ATLAS facility.
Very small asteroid 2019 MO, measuring just 4 meters, impacted the atmosphere over the Caribbean on June 22. Although too small to pose a threat, NASA assets were able to detect it and flag it in advance. https://t.co/Qu9BZHsJuN
— Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) June 25, 2019
The Scout impact analysis software that is present in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA estimated the impact as 2. For those who are unaware of the scaling system 0 stands for unlikely while 4 stands for likely.
The Pan-STARR was also working along with ATLAS. The telescope was operating to capture a part of the sky that had a high probability of being asteroids path. The images garnered by the Pan-STARR telescope pushed the Scout impact rating to 4. The images even helped to determine the entry path of 2019 MO.
2019 MO did not cause any damage to Earth
The calculations turned out to be immaculate and San Juan’s weather radar identified the asteroid as it entered our atmosphere. 2019 MO entered up in our atmosphere some 236 miles south of San Juan city, over the ocean. The asteroid was small enough to not cause much damage and burned up in our atmosphere.
Here's a view of the explosion of asteroid 2019 MO, and what appears to be water condensing on dust particles along the paths of the fragments. pic.twitter.com/XbZufNjWEv
— Scott Sutherland, Science Writer (@ScottWx_TWN) June 27, 2019
ATLAS scans the entire sky once every two nights to find such things before they could impact the Earth. Small asteroids like 2019 MO can be perceived half a day before their arrival. While bigger asteroids can be spotted much before that.
Astronomers have a firm believe that Pan-STARR and ATLAS could be more helpful in future.
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