A Small Asteroid Hit Earth on 2 June

Sometimes friends and I joke – but not really – about how it might be preferable, given how things are going these days, to have an asteroid strike.

That’s what happened on Saturday 2 June.  Don’t worry.  We are still here.  It was small.

From SpaceWeather:

SMALL ASTEROID HITS EARTH: On Saturday, June 2nd, astronomers working with the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona discovered a small asteroid (2018 LA) near the orbit of the Moon. Hours later, it hit Earth. The boulder-sized space rock entered the atmosphere traveling 38,000 mph (17 km/s) and exploded over Botswana at 6:44 p.m. local time. A video camera at a farm near Ottosda, South Africa, recorded the explosion. It was impressively bright even at a distance:

The explosion sent waves of low-frequency sound (infrasound) rippling through the atmosphere, and it was detected by an infrasound monitor in South Africa, deployed as part of the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Meteor expert Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario analyzed the signals and came to these conclusions about the explosion:

“The yield was in the range 0.3 to 0.5 kilotons of TNT,” he says. “That corresponds to a 2 meter diameter asteroid.”  [F=ma after all] 

As asteroids go, that’s very small. It posed no significant danger to objects on the ground as it disintegrated almost wholly in the atmosphere. Fragments may yet be found on the ground and recovered for sale or scientific study.

The real significance of this event is that it highlights the growing capability of modern sky surveys to discover asteroids targeting Earth. Even small faint space rocks are being caught in the net. Boulder-sized impactors have been discovered hurtling toward Earth three times in the past 10 years: 2008 TC3 exploded over northern Sudan on Oct. 7, 2008; 2014 AA burned up above the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 1, 2014; and now 2018 LA. In each case, the warning was less than a day. Larger asteroids may be seen at a greater distance, however, allowing for more lead time. Learn more about the latest impact from NASA.

One of these days, something is going to happen.

We are due for a pandemic of some kind.

We are due for another Carrington Event.

One of these days, something is going to happen.

Have a nice day!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TonyO says:

    One of these days, something is going to happen.

    So go to confession!

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. APX says:

    One of these days, something is going to happen

    I’m putting my money on some sort of a super volcano eruption. As it it there seems to be something going on with volcanoes. Another one just erupted the other day in Guatemala killing 7 people.

    [Oooo! Good one. Another thing for us to think about!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  3. acardnal says:

    And they wonder why I drink.

  4. TonyO says:

    Can somebody explain to me the difference between a meteorite and an asteroid? Because I thought a rock maybe 2 meters across was just too small to be called an asteroid? I am sure that “asteroid” is not a well-defined word in terms of size, but even if it is gray at the edges, surely 2 meters is too small.

  5. G1j says:

    I’m leaning towards a pandemic. Ebola is gaining ground more and more each year. There was a recent outbreak on the Congo river which can allow it to travel a great distance this time. From there and the nearest airport it’s a hop, skip, and a jump from your (our) back door! Yikes!!!

  6. robtbrown says:

    G1j says:

    I’m leaning towards a pandemic.

    I take the miracle at Fatima to be an indication, and it was fire and heat from the sky. That would seem to include nukes and meteorites.

  7. robtbrown says:


    An asteroid that hits the earth is a meteorite.

  8. exNOAAman says:

    Interesting bit.
    Yet, no “Go to confession!” admonition.
    So I was just wondering…
    …Who are you, and what have you done with Fr. Z.?!

  9. Grant M says:

    Volcanoes, eh? That made me sit up. The island where I live is basically just a string of volcanoes (45 active volcanoes according to Wikipedia.)

    I’ll try to be ready. Remember Pompeii.

  10. APX says:

    I take the miracle at Fatima to be an indication, and it was fire and heat from the sky. That would seem to include nukes and meteorites.
    Don’t forget volcanoes. Those lava bombs…

    I never realized how many volcanoes there are in Canada. Even Saskatchewan has some despite being flatter than a pancake.

  11. JustaSinner says:

    An asteroid is any free range object ( not a planet or planetoid, sorry Pluto) that orbits the sun or one of its planets/planetoid.
    A meteoroid is a bit that breaks off an asteroid—-from microscope to huge chunk.
    A meteor is a meteoroid that hits Earth’s atmosphere.
    A meteorite is any bit of a meteor that strikes Earth’s surface.
    Cups, pints, quarts and gallons!

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