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Asteroid discovered mere hours before it exploded over Berlin

Published Jan 23rd, 2024 5:41PM EST
asteroids skimming past Earth
Image: auntspray / Adobe

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Early on January 21, an asteroid explosion over Berlin caught the world by surprise. While it wasn’t the first time an asteroid exploded over a city, the fact that the asteroid, dubbed 2024 BXI, was only discovered hours beforehand was the real kicker.

First spotted by self-proclaimed asteroid hunter Krisztián Sárneczky, an astronomer at the Piszkéstető Mountain Station in Hungary, 2024 BXI was a tiny asteroid. Shortly after its discovery by Sárneczky, NASA shared its own report, noting that it was expected to disintegrate as a harmless fireball west of Berlin during the night of January 20 (via LiveScience).

That seems to have been the case, as a camera in the city of Leipzig in Northern Germany captured the asteroid explosion over Berlin, with the video being shared on X (formerly Twitter) and other social media.

Part of what makes this case so intriguing is the fact that the asteroid was only discovered hours before it hit Earth. Now, obviously, if it had been bigger, the chances that it would have been spotted beforehand would have skyrocketed. However, because it was so tiny, 2024 BXI remained hidden until it was very close to Earth.

This isn’t even the first time we’ve seen an asteroid discovered just hours before its explosion in Earth’s atmosphere. We saw something similar in 2022 when a small asteroid was discovered just two hours before its impact. Sárneczky also discovered that asteroid.

Of course, the real concern here is whether or not killer asteroids might sneak through our defenses and not be seen within a time frame that allows us to react to them. While that is unlikely, it is definitely a concern that some have, as asteroids have been known to hide within the Sun’s glare, making them very hard to see.

Either way, this most recent asteroid explosion over Berlin is a reminder that not all asteroids that make their way to Earth are dangerous. And these kinds of space rocks have been interacting and impacting our planet for millions of years.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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