Photo shows spectacular asteroid light up the morning sky near France
A small asteroid lit up the sky above the English Channel early Monday morning, creating an impressive display that was caught on camera.
The meteoroid, called Sar2667, measures 3 ft (1m) in length. A number of social media users captured it just before 03:00 GMT as it burned up in Earth's atmosphere.
Those early morning stargazers were able to capture their footage thanks to advanced prediction systems. It is the seventh time in history that an Earth asteroid impact was predicted in advance.
Predicted asteroid entry leads to impressive footage
Shortly after the meteoroid Sar2667 entered and burned up in Earth's atmosphere, the European Space Agency (ESA) tweeted that the predicted entry was "a sign of the rapid advancements in global asteroid detection capabilities!"
Earlier, the agency had written that the meteoroid was expected to "safely strike" the Earth's atmosphere.
☄️@esaoperations reported a 1 m meteoroid before it entered Earth's atmosphere over northern France early this morning: only the 7th time an #asteroidimpact has been predicted - but a sign of the rapid advances in global detection capabilities! #Fireball #Sar2667 https://t.co/MzYoIkRaF2— ESA (@esa) February 13, 2023
The agency earlier said the object was expected to "safely strike" the earth's atmosphere near the French city of Rouen. The International Meteor Organization, a Belgium-based non-profit, said the object would have entered roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the French coast, creating a "fireball" effect as it burned up in the atmosphere.
Social media users shared footage of the entry, with one writing that the asteroid "lit up the sky with a pink flash which was spectacular."
Keeping track of near-Earth asteroids
The last Earth asteroid entry predicted ahead of time occurred over Ontario, Canada, in November last year. In December last year, a car-sized asteroid zipped past Earth, coming closer than some communications satellites.
Asteroid Sar2667, about a meter in diameter, was expected to fall near the French city of Le Havre at 02:59h UTC. I drove to a photogenic spot close to home in the south of the Netherlands to capture it, just as the sky cleared.#asteroid #meteor @IMOmeteors @apod pic.twitter.com/MNZofhkrd7— Gijs de Reijke (@GijsDeReijke) February 13, 2023
ESA says there are roughly 30,600 near-Earth asteroids orbiting our sun. The majority of these would enter harmlessly into Earth's atmosphere, though officials are keeping an eye on potentially hazardous space rocks.
Last year, NASA successfully tested planetary defense technology with its DART mission, which slammed a spacecraft into an asteroid to alter its orbit.
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