A NASA sighting has confirmed that an asteroid, which entered the Earth’s atmosphere on June 2 caused a sonic boom, lighting up the sky as it passed northeast of Phoenix, Arizona.
According to a NASA press statement the small asteroid estimated at 5 feet in diametre, with a mass of a few tons and a kinetic energy of approximately half a kiloton, entered Earth’s atmosphere above Arizona just before 4 am local (MST) time.
NASA estimates that the asteroid was moving at about 40,200 miles per hour (64,700 kilometers per hour) and a video captured from an EarthCam in Sedona, nearly 70 miles away from the event, gives a glimpse of how this asteroid lit up the sky, turning night into day.
NASA’s Meteor Watch page has shared a video of the same on its Facebook page, and it can be viewed below as well:
According to NASA, the orbit of this small asteroid is just inside Mars’ orbit and when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere on Thursday, it was an “extremely bright fireball” that blinded all-sky meteor cameras as far away as western New Mexico.
“There are no reports of any damage or injuries—just a lot of light and few sonic booms,” said Bill Cooke in NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “If Doppler radar is any indication, there are almost certainly meteorites scattered on the ground north of Tucson.”
The NASA Meteoroid Environments Office (MEO) monitors the small rock (meteoroid) environment near Earth in order to assess the risks posed to spacecraft by these bits of tiny space debris.
Meteor experts are having difficulty obtaining data on the June 2 fireball from meteor camera videos, since many of the cameras were almost completely saturated by the bright event.