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Asteroid 2008 TC3
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Asteroid 2008 TC3 Strikes Earth: Predictions and Observations Agree
A spectacular fireball lit up the predawn sky above Northern Sudan on October 7, 2008. This explosion was caused by the atmospheric entry of a small near-Earth asteroid, estimated to be no more than a few meters in diameter. The explosion likely scattered small meteorite fragments across the Nubian desert below. Although such small impact events occur several times per year around the globe, this case was unprecedented because the asteroid was actually discovered the day before it reached the Earth and the impact location and time were for the first time predicted in advance.
At 6:39 UT (UT = GMT) on the morning of October 6, 2008, Richard Kowalski, at the Catalina Sky Survey, discovered this small near-Earth asteroid using the Mt. Lemmon 1.5 meter aperture telescope near Tucson, Arizona. When the discovery observations were reported to the Minor Planet Centre (MPC) in Cambridge Massachusetts, a preliminary orbit computation immediately indicated that the object was headed for an Earth impact within 21 hours. The MPC quickly made the discovery and subsequent "follow-up" observations available to the astronomical community and contacted the NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. The MPC also notified NASA Headquarters of the impending impact so that subsequent US government interagency alerts and inter-governmental notifications could begin. By the time this object (now designated as 2008 TC3) entered the Earth's shadow 19 hours after discovery, some 570 astrometric (positional) measurements had been reported from 26 observatories around the world, both professional and amateur.

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The Light Curve of 2008 TC3
On the night of the 2008 TC3 encounter several observers made long sequences of photometry of the asteroid. MPC 213 and MPC J47 together have 285 internally consistent photometric observations (i.e. reduced against the same reference stars) covering more than 66 minutes in total.
The best fit is found for a period of 97.13 ±0.03 seconds.

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Am 6. Oktober 2008 wurde der 2 - 5 m große Asteroid 2008 TC3 im erdnahen Bereich entdeckt. Die Berechnung der Bahndaten ergab eine hohe Wahrscheinlichkeit für eine Kollision mit der Erde. Wiederholte und genauere Berechnungen mit immer mehr Daten bestätigten den Einschlag für den 7. Oktober 2008 im Nordsudan, östlich des Nil, um 4:46 MESZ. So wurde erstmals ein Asteroideneinschlag auf der Erde richtig vorhergesagt.

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Sensors aboard US satellites detected the impact of a bolide over Africa on 7 October 2008 at 02:45:40 UT. The initial observation put the object at 65.4 km altitude at 20.9 degrees North Latitude, 31.4 degrees East Longitude.
The object detonated at an altitude of approximately 37 km at 20.8 degrees North Latitude, 32.2 degrees East Longitude. The total radiated energy was approximately 4.0X10^11 joules. This is equivalent to approximately 0.1 KT of radiated energy (assumes a 6000 Kelvin black body).

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Picture of asteroid signal

Caught. An ultra-low-frequency sound detector recorded the signal (tall line between 400 and 500 seconds) of the asteroid blasting through the atmosphere.
Credit: P. Brown/University of Western Ontario

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It seems that no one in Sudan was able to record the 2008 TC3 fireball; the only image I've seen that was shot from the ground was one very tiny pixel in the sky seen from a beach in Egypt. But in this day and age, there are always eyes in the sky on practically every point on Earth, and, through good fortune, the METEOSAT-8 spacecraft scanned the globe at the moment that the asteroid was putting on its show.

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Meteosat-8 Rapid Scan captures asteroid impact
On 7 October, asteroid 2008 TC3 hit Earth and exploded in the atmosphere over northern Sudan. Amazingly, the Meteosat-8 Rapid Scanning Service managed to capture the impact.

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Meteorite Scatterfield

30586218.2870ba.jpg

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Meteoroid 2008 TC3
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A rare series of events occurred early Tuesday morning, October 7, as asteroid 2008 TC3 hit Earth releasing a huge amount of light and energy before exploding in the atmosphere over northern Sudan. Even better is that amazingly, the Meteosat-8 Rapid Scanning Service managed to capture the impact.

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30589873.e1dded.jpg

Latitude:  20°52'35.63"N, Longitude:  32°23'26.83"E



-- Edited by Blobrana at 17:26, 2008-10-10

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A computer-generated image of the flight path and ground track of 2008 TC3

tracke1.gif
Expand (224kb, 1120 x 752)
Credit Syuichi Nakano, Sumoto, Japan

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