Thursday, March 26, 2009

Asteroid sighted, then pieces recovered

For the first time, astronomers have recovered on Earth fragments of an asteroid that had been tracked in space. Asteroid 2008 TC3, the size of a telephone booth, was tracked until it vanished into Earth's atmosphere. Astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center correlated the object with eyewitness reports from the Sudan of a fireball exploding high in the atmosphere. 47 pieces were recovered from the Nubian Desert. The asteroid appears to belong to a rare and fragile type called F-class asteroids. Scientists are ecstatic about having pieces in hand to analyze the origin of these spacegoing mysteries.

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