- A meteor lit up the sky over Botswana, Africa, early Saturday evening
- Scientists discovered the six-foot-wide asteroid just hours before it reached Earth
A boulder-sized asteroid turned into a blazing fireball as it disintegrated over southern Africa near Botswana Saturday; hours after it was first spotted by scientists.
This particular space rock, now officially (and posthumously) named ‘2018 LA’, was estimated at being around 2 meters wide, and travelling at a speed of over 61,000 km/h (17 km per second), when it reached the top of Earth’s atmosphere.
“This was a much smaller object than we are tasked to detect and warn about,” NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, Lindley Johnson, said in a statement on Sunday.
“However, this real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object.”
The asteroid which was just two meters wide was deemed too small to pose any danger. However, its harmless explosion was caught on camera and was shared online.
In a video posted on YouTube by Mellisa Delport, it shows the asteroid burning up in the evening sky over Botswana; eight hours after first being noticed. The video was captured at a farm just across the border in South Africa, and has been watched more than 180,000 times since being posted on June 3.