October 7, 2008 in Nation/World

Asteroid headed for light show

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A small asteroid was headed for a fiery but harmless dive into Earth’s atmosphere early this morning over Africa, astronomers said in a first-of-its-kind advance warning.

Harvard scientists announced late Monday afternoon that the asteroid 2008 TC3 would burn up in the sky, making a fireball potentially visible to people in northern Africa. Measuring between 3 feet and 15 feet in diameter, the rock was expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere above Sudan just before dawn.

“It’s the first time we’ve been able to predict an impactor in advance, and it’ll be quite a celestial show for the world,” said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object program, which tracks asteroids and comets that come close.

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