Small asteroid explodes over Australia

Small asteroid explodes over Australia

An asteroid with an estimated diameter of 1.2 m (3.9 feet) streaked through the night sky over central Australia around 14:50 UTC on May 19 (00:20 ACST May 20) and was captured by multiple cameras. The event lasted several seconds before the object disintegrated in a bright flash. Its energy was almost 1.5 times higher than the most powerful conventional bomb in the world, IMO said.

According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), app sightings and the Australian Fireballs in the sky network placed the fireball at -23.69, 133.86, right above Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

"The asteroid created such a high-pressure change in the atmosphere that it was even picked up by infrasound stations," IMO's Theresa Otta and Esther Drolshagen noted.

"We looked at the closest stations of the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation and found four that recorded a strong signal. One Australian station was only a couple tens of km away from the entry point.

"We were able to calculate preliminary source energy of 60 tons of TNT. With an assumed velocity of 14 km/s and a density of 3000 kg/m3 the size would be 1.2 m [3.9 feet] in diameter, which places the entering object in the asteroid range."

If you witnessed this event, please submit your report using IMO's official fireball report.

Featured image: Fireball over Northern Territory, Australia on May 19, 2019 (UTC). Credit: NT Emergency Services

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