NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 17 February 2023: Asteroid 2023 CX1 turns into a fireball | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 17 February 2023: Asteroid 2023 CX1 turns into a fireball

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a snapshot of Asteroid 2023 CX1 as it turned into a fireball over the over European regions of France and others.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 17 2023, 14:22 IST
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Asteroid 2023 CX1
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Asteroid 2023 CX1
2/5 Heart and Soul Nebulae (Feb 14) - NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day on February 14 was a celebration of Valentine's Day in the form of the Heart and the Soul Nebulae which are located about 6000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia. Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen, one of three colors shown in this three-color montage. Light takes about 6,000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years.  (NASA/Juan Lozano de Haro)
Asteroid 2023 CX1
3/5 Airglow (Feb 15) - NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb 15 was a stunning picture of Airglow in the skies over Château de Losse in southwest France. It wasn’t just airglow that was visible. Various celestial objects were also seen, including Orion Nebula, California Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Mars, Sirius, Pleiades Star Cluster and the Milky Way Galaxy.  (NASA/Julien Looten)
Asteroid 2023 CX1
4/5 Hydra Galaxy Cluster (Feb 16) - Hydra Cluster of galaxies is one of the three large galaxy clusters within 200 million light-years of the Milky Way and it is surrounded by millions of stars. The galaxy cluster is over 100 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. Three large galaxies near the cluster center, two yellow ellipticals (NGC 3311, NGC 3309) and one prominent blue spiral (NGC 3312), are the dominant galaxies, each about 150,000 light-years in diameter. (NASA/Marco Lorenzi/Angus Lau/Tommy Tse)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 CX1 (Feb 17) - A 3.2 feet wide asteroid lit up the skies over Europe on February 12 as it turned into a fireball. The asteroid, named SAR 2667 or Asteroid 2023 CX1, turned into a fireball over the European skies where it was captured by astronomers and skywatchers. It was first discovered by Krisztian Sarneczky with a 2-foot telescope at Konkoly Observatory's Piszkesteto Station, located about 100 kilometers northeast from Budapest.   (NASA/Gijs de Reijke)
Asteroid 2023 CX1
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Discovery of Asteroid 2023 CX1 marks only the 7th time that an asteroid impact has been predicted. (NASA/Gijs de Reijke)

Although asteroids rarely come close enough that they pose a potential danger of impacting Earth, this recent asteroid certainly came close. Just recently, a 3.2 feet wide asteroid turned into a fireball over the European skies where it was captured by astronomers and skywatchers. It was first discovered by Krisztian Sarneczky with a 2-foot telescope at Konkoly Observatory's Piszkesteto Station, located about 100 kilometers (about 62.14 mi) northeast of Budapest. The information was then passed to the European Space Agency (ESA) hours before the impact.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a snapshot of the same asteroid which fell into the atmosphere on February 12 around 10 p.m. EST. According to ESA, it is only the 7th time that an asteroid impact has been predicted with the previous prediction also made by Sarneczky. As it entered the atmosphere, the asteroid, named SAR 2667 or Asteroid 2023 CX1, lit up the skies over European regions of France and others. It was first captured by Sarneczky just 7 hours before impact on February 12, around 20:18:07 UTC.

The picture was captured by Gijs de Reijke, a Dutch geography teacher and landscape photographer. Shockingly, this asteroid made a close approach to Earth almost exactly a decade after the Chelyabinsk asteroid crashed into the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia and caused millions in damage, leaving over 1400 people injured on 15 February 2013.

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NASA's description of the picture

While scanning the skies for near earth objects Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky first imaged the meter-sized space rock now cataloged as 2023 CX1 on 12 February 2023 at 20:18:07 UTC. That was about 7 hours before it impacted planet Earth's atmosphere. Its predicted trajectory created a rare opportunity for meteor observers and a last-minute plan resulted in this spectacular image of the fireball, captured from the Netherlands as 2023 CX1 vaporized and broke up over northern France.

Remarkably it was Sarneczky's second discovery of an impacting asteroid, while 2023 CX1 is only the seventh asteroid to be detected before being successfully predicted to impact Earth. It has recently become the third such object from which meteorites have been recovered. This fireball was witnessed almost 10 years to the day following the infamous Chelyabinsk Meteor flash.

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First Published Date: 17 Feb, 14:18 IST
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