HomeTechInternational researchers, Western University, detect fireball over southern Ontario

International researchers, Western University, detect fireball over southern Ontario

In a very out of this world sight, a small asteroid hurdling in direction of Earth was tracked by scientists for 3 hours the place its trajectory introduced it over the skies of southern Ontario over the weekend, in accordance with London, Ont.’s Western University.

According to a press launch from Western University, simply earlier than midnight on Nov. 18, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona detected a small celestial object heading in direction of Earth.

A small asteroid, now named 2022 WJ1, was tracked by a number of observatories all over the world for 3 hours as the article travelled in direction of Earth and traversed throughout the sky over southern Ontario, the place it made influence over at 3:26 a.m. on Nov. 19.

The advance warning of the asteroid gave researchers of the Western Meteor Physics Group and the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) the chance to maneuver exterior and place themselves to look at the inbound fireball.

According to Western, David Clark, a geophysics doctoral scholar, drove to the anticipated fall space within the early hours of Sunday, and parked close to Niagara-on-the-Lake on the intersection of Highway 403 and Niagara Regional Road 55 the place he witnessed the fireball along with his personal eyes.

“It passed right overhead at the predicted time and was distinctly green in colour,” mentioned Clark within the launch. “Several minutes later a noticeable sonic boom could be heard.”

The meteorite fall zone of a small asteroid that travelled throughout southern Ontario on Nov. 19, 2022. (Source: Western University)

Western’s All-Sky Camera additionally captured the fireball, first getting into Earth’s ambiance simply south of Woodstock, Ont., the place it then travelled eastbound till its finish 20 kilometres north of Vineland.

According to Western, fragments of the meteor seemingly made it to the bottom close to the southern shore of Lake Ontario, principally north of St. Catharines.

Paul Wiegert, a physics and astronomy professor, additionally managed to witness the cosmic occasion.

“I watched from Brescia Hill on the Western campus. Though cold and windy, the hill had a clear view to the east, where I expected to see only a distant flash. Then the fireball suddenly appeared, passing almost overhead. Wow! It was easily visible between broken clouds and noticeably orange-red,” mentioned Wiegert within the launch.

On Saturday, CTV News London acquired video captured from a viewer doorbell digicam in London’s White Oaks neighbourhood that depicted a shiny meteor streaking throughout the night time sky.

Although this meteor was noticed on the night time of Nov. 18— the identical night time because the fireball detected by Western University — it isn’t clear whether or not the 2 occasions are related.

Only six different asteroids in historical past have had superior warning previous to their influence, and Western mentioned that is the primary predicted occasion to happen over a closely populated space and inside vary of scientific devices.

This discovery is one thing that has Canada Research Chair in Planetary Small Bodies at Western’s Peter Brown enthusiastic about what lies forward.

“This remarkable event will provide clues about the makeup and strength which when combined with telescopic measurements will inform our understanding of how small asteroids break up in the atmosphere, important knowledge for planetary defence,” Brown mentioned within the launch. 

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