The perception, storage and discovery of an asteroid exploded
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For the first time in history there are meteorites found, the impact was also followed. In the early morning of October 7 raining meteorites in the Nubian desert (Sudan). The area found pieces give astronomers insight into what exactly the universe flies.

It is October 6, 2008 and a small asteroid a few meters diameter and about 80,000 pounds heavy, rushes through the universe. It is coming hard towards a collision with the earth. He rushes towards North Africa and end up in the atmosphere. Unfortunately for the space piece is not to file. "Asteroids 2008 TC3 'explodes at about 37 kilometers altitude.

Such an asteroid on earth is shifting, is not so special. The earth is often faced with small blocks of space. They are always so small that they are in the atmosphere from splashing each other before they can be detected by telescopes. But on October 6, the astronomer got lucky.

Impact Alarm
The piece was space to 07:39 pm (our time) by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona (USA) noted. It soon became clear that the asteroid collide with the earth would be. Time and location were derived from the orientation of the boulder, only 19 hours later, he would in the Nubian desert in the far north of Sudan take.

Astronomers around the world followed the event full of excitement and brought a NASA press release from which the entry was announced. It was the first time in history that the impact of a meteorite so beautiful could be followed.

In the early morning of October 7 to No. 6 train station in Sudan eyewitnesses saw a fireball in the air that later disappeared. The asteroid hitting, at that moment was a meteor exploded. After the explosion, some mild shock waves to measure and there were a few dust clouds visible. And just rained in the Nubian desert. Small fragments of the asteroid - which is now called meteorites - beat spread over many kilometers.

For researcher Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in California started this adventure only. He was very curious whether meteorites could be found. But it was initially quiet and Jenniskens decided to go find themselves.

There he sought contact with the University of Al Khartoum (Sudan) and two months after the impact, he with 45 students in the search entry field. After a day in a row already searching through the desert walk, the first piece found. A black, shiny stone that is clearly not in the Nubian Desert belonged.

The next few days were still 18 space rocks and half quest a few weeks later brought the total to 47 pieces. Nearly four pounds, less than one hundredth percent of the original mass of the space piece. They are all from the same space rock, now the more personalized name Almahata Sitta has been Jennikens and colleagues write in Nature.

The meteorites were all over the world for research. It appears that they are surprisingly porous and that means they are vulnerable. Thus, they are rare. The pieces contain much carbon and vitreous minerals that look like sugar crystals. The meteorites fall to classify as' ureiliet ', a type of asteroid that probably in the area already melting. Only half percent of the meteorites on earth belongs to this type.

Astronomers also asteroids share, according to their degree of light they reflect, in classes. On October 6 was a F-class asteroid, a poorly reflective type. That surprised the researchers. From ureilieten was assumed that they were a different class.

Such knowledge, according to the researchers still very useful. If ever there was a large asteroid on the Earth are heading, to save humanity is to be averted, it is handy to know what material is the Leviathan. On this basis, may be in a treatment method determined.

Space without rockets
The discovery is a mazzeltje. Vanover Scientists worldwide are investigating the composition of asteroids. A goal of the Japanese Hayabusa space expedition is a piece of the asteroid Itokawa to get. The big difference is that in the case of Almahata Sitta 'no rocket scientists were needed and that saves a lot of effort and money.

The investigation is still ongoing. Meanwhile, there are already third fruitful quest in the Nubian desert place. There are more than 230 meteorites found. And now we hope that this knowledge can be used again to 'Armageddon' to.

Johan Schaeffer

Source: Northern