Asteroid explodes in the sky over Iceland

On March 11, Hungarian astronomer Christian Scharnecki, using a 60-centimeter telescope, discovered a small asteroid, the size of which was estimated at 3-4 m. The object received the designation 2022 EB5.

Near-Earth asteroid in the artist’s image. Source: ESA/P.Carrel

Every year, astronomers find thousands of small bodies similar to 2022 EB5. But this case was different from others. The fact is that calculations carried out immediately after the discovery of the object showed that in just two hours it would fly through the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Scharnecki’s calculations turned out to be correct. Fortunately, due to its small size, the “heavenly wanderer” completely collapsed at high altitude. It happened north of Iceland. During the ruin of the asteroid, energy equivalent to several kilotons in TNT equivalent was released. The event did not lead to casualties and destruction.

2022 EB5 became only the fifth asteroid whose fall was predicted in advance by astronomers. Of course, the vast majority of such bodies are tiny enough to threaten our planet. However, the current case once again reminds of the need to improve monitoring systems for potentially dangerous near-Earth objects. Sooner or later, the Earth will collide with a sufficiently large body that can fly through the atmosphere and cause destruction on the surface.

According to