An asteroid collides with Earth over Germany a few hours after its discovery
A small asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere on Sunday morning and lit up the sky over eastern Germany. Videos of the incident spread on social media, showing a glowing object landing over Europe. Experts later confirmed that the light came from a disintegrating meteorite.
According to astronomers and observers, asteroid 2024 BX1, provisionally identified as Sar2736, landed outside Berlin near Nynhausen at around 1:30 a.m. local time. Hungarian astronomer Krysztian Szarniczky was the first to discover the asteroid’s approach several hours before its collision, according to the International Astronomical Union.
NASA also confirmed the accident at least 20 minutes before impact. Alert: A small, harmless fireball-shaped asteroid will disintegrate west of Berlin near Nyonhausen at 1:32 a.m. CET. “Moderators will see this if it’s clear!” the space agency wrote.
This incident was the eighth time an asteroid was discovered before it collided with Earth, and the third time it was discovered by Christian Sarnitsky. Sarnitsky is a well-known “asteroid hunter” who has discovered minor planets and other space objects heading toward our planet, including two asteroids that successively fell over France in 2023 and the Arctic Ocean in 2022.
How big was the asteroid?
The asteroid was about one meter long from tip to tip, according to Dennis Vida, a doctoral fellow specializing in meteor physics at Western University in Canada. Vida is also the mastermind behind the Global Meteor Project, a mission aimed at enhancing global meteor monitoring through a collaborative network of space-pointed cameras.
Dennis Vida shared an impressive video of the descending asteroid, originally recorded by a live-streaming camera positioned in the German city of Leipzig. The footage was posted on X. In his accompanying remarks, Vida speculated that the asteroid may have released meteorites upon reaching Earth’s atmosphere and fissioning. In further clarification provided to CBS News via email, Vida noted that the asteroid began disintegrating at a location about 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) west of Berlin.
An asteroid named Minor Planet Center
The asteroid was initially named Sar2736, and underwent a formal naming process by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre.
The designation given to it became 2024 BX1, according to EarthSky. Notably, the Minor Planet Center, supported by a grant from NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observing Program, plays a critical role in collecting comprehensive data on comets and “irregular exo-satellites of major planets.”
(With inputs from agencies)
(Tags for translation)Asteroid