Asteroid hit Canada, may have dropped meteorites

Asteroid hit Canada and may have dropped meteorites

Astronomers spotted an asteroid just hours before it hit Earth Saturday morning (November 19, 2022), near Lake Erie in Canada. This isn’t the first time this year that astronomers have discovered a rock from outer space just hours before it reached Earth. But this time it entered the Earth’s atmosphere over a populated area and crossed the skies of Toronto, Canada. So we have video and witnesses who saw, heard and felt the impact. And astronomers said locals may be able to find meteorites from the impact.

Western University in Canada said meteorites may have reached the ground near the southern shore of Lake Ontario, mainly north of St. Catharines. Peter Brown of Western University said:

This fireball is especially important because the original meteoroid was observed telescopically before it reached the atmosphere. This makes it a rare opportunity to link telescopic data from an asteroid to its breakup behavior in the atmosphere to gain insight into its internal structure.

Researchers asked locals between Port Weller and Virgil, Ontario, to look for fragments of the space rock. Brown said:

We know from CCTV footage and weather radar that tracked falling debris from the fireball that meteorites almost certainly hit the ground near or east of Grimsby. Now what we need to complete this story is to recover some of these rocks and find out what kind of material formed asteroid 2022 WJ1. This is much like an example of a return space mission, but in this case the monster fell on us.

Read more about finding meteorites. And if you find one, please contact the Royal Ontario Museum at [email protected]

Scientists mapped this zone (red) where meteorites from the November 19, 2022 fireball may have reached the ground. Image via Western University.

First notification of impending impact

Yes Quanzhian astronomer from the University of Maryland who studies asteroids, comets and meteors, reported on Twitter at 1:13 a.m. EST on Nov. 19:

It looks like a space rock will fall into the Lake Erie area in about 2 hours (about 3:30 a.m. EST)

He shared the link for NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies Hazard Assessment page. The object, C8FF042, has now been removed from the page because it hit Earth and is therefore no longer a threat.

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Accurate forecast

At 2:29 AM EST, Richard Moissl tweeted that the asteroid should impact around 8:26 UTC, which translates to 3:26 a.m. EST. That turned out to be incredibly accurate, as cameras around Toronto captured the car at 3:25 and 3:26. The camera from the CN Tower in Toronto was one of the cameras that saw the near-level entry of the asteroid.

Witnesses of the asteroid

Fortunately, the space rock was less than a meter in size. Impact should have been around Brantford, Ontario. That’s north of Lake Erie; west of Buffalo, New York; east of Detroit and southwest of Toronto. With such a populated area, many people had a chance to see the fireball enter the atmosphere. People on Twitter reported seeing the bright flash of light, along with the sound of atmospheric entry and even shaking, likely from the sonic boom. Twitter user @TimsDoubleD said:

I heard it and almost felt like my house was moving. I thought a generator exploded nearby.

Twitter user @SchefflerKen said:

This would have been interesting to see, but at least I got to hear it. I had woken up for some reason and a few seconds later the house creaked, just like when a gust of wind hits it, and then there was a muffled rumble for two or three seconds.

Some observers reported the fireball at magnitude -10 to -20.

Those few hours of run-up time were enough to spot C8FF042 with telescopes.

Did you see it? You can report the fireball to the American Meteor Society here.

Asteroid is now called 2022 WJ1

David Rankin discovered asteroid C8FF042, which the Minor Planet Center has since named WJ1. Information about the newly discovered asteroid circulated on the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML). It said:

Bill Gray has the point of impact on Nov 19, 2022 8:26:54.47 UTC, lat +43.12309, lon W80.26416, which is directly over Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Sam Deen at the MPML said:

The object will have a very grazing impact of only 10-12 degrees or so, and should travel from WSW to ENE between Detroit and Buffalo. We should probably expect quite a spectacular light show given the area’s low angle and high population.

More views from Twitter

Bottom line: On November 19, 2022, a small asteroid hit Canada just hours after its discovery. Researchers are asking locals to watch for meteorites.

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