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Asteroid on track to hit Earth at 7:45 p.m., UA scientists say

Heading for Sudan; too small to be hazard

A small asteroid is on track to hit Earth at about 7:45 p.m. Tucson time, according to University of Arizona scientists.

The asteroid is heading toward northern Sudan, but UA scientists say it is too small to be hazardous, according to a UA news release.

It is only two meters in diameter and is traveling at 12 kilometers per second, said Ed Beshore of UA’s Catalina Sky Survey. “Whether it will survive entry through Earth’s atmosphere depends on its composition,” Beshore said. “But it is sure to create a spectacular sight for those fortunate enough to see it at night.”

It is the first time astronomers have discovered an object with a nearly 100 percent chance of hitting the Earth, the release said.

The asteroid is expected to release about one kiloton of energy when it hits Earth’s atmosphere, either in a

single shot or in a series of explosions, the release said. It is on course to hit Earth’s atmosphere with a grazing strike, much like a skipping stone on water, Beshore said.

Richard Kowalski, a member of the Catalina Sky Survey team, discovered the object with the team’s 60-inch telescope on Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson.

Even if this asteroid reaches the ground intact, the predicted impact area is largely uninhabited, and the danger to individuals is small, the release said.

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