Back in April 2017, around 1 a.m. local time, a really bright and slow fireball lit up the skies over Kyoto, Japan.
It’s been revealed that later, a team of experts from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Kyoto Sangyo University (KSU) and the Nippon Meteor Society found the dust particle that flamed out in a really grand style had an orbit which is similar to the double asteroid called asteroid 2003 YT1.
The true identity of the fireball is discovered
“We uncovered the fireball’s true identity,” Toshihiro Kasuga, a visiting scientist at NAOJ and KSU, stated this week.
He continued and explained that “The 2017 fireball and its parent asteroid gave us a behind-the-scenes look at meteors.”
MSN reported that the study had been published in The Astronomical Journal.
The team believes that at some point in the past, 2003 YT1 cracked under pressure from something that was called the YORP effect, according to the reports coming from the website mentioned above.
This effect caused it to twist in a really strange way as it was rotating, and this resulted in breaking the asteroid. The break of a space rock, even if it’s just a tiny one, can release dust that will make its way to our atmosphere, and it will burn up as fireballs.
A threat to Earth?
If this asteroid completely breaks apart into smaller space rocks, it could end up posing a threat to our planet, according to the data coming from the study.
The double asteroid is quite a monster, as the online publication mentioned above notes, and it measures about 1.2 miles while it’s orbited by the companion that measures 690 feet.
“The potential breakup of the rock could be dangerous to life on Earth,” Kasuga says.
The expert continued and explained that “Those resulting asteroids could hit the Earth in the next 10 million years or so.”