An Asteroid Was Spotted By Astronomers Hours Before It Exploded Over Europe

There was no indication of its existence a day ago, but now it seems to be one of the most closely watched space rocks. Seven hours after its discovery by a Hungarian observatory on Sunday evening, an asteroid with the official designation 2023 CX1.

According to the European Space Agency, this is only the fourth occasion a meteoroid has been seen in space before its impact on the atmosphere. Given that the small bolide was only one metre across when it was discovered, this achievement is all the more remarkable.

Krisztián Sárneczky of the Piszkéstet Observatory was the first to see it; he had previously made a similar finding of the doomed asteroid 2022 EB5 a year earlier.

All the tiniest parts would have undoubtedly burned up well before reaching the surface. Its minuscule size further ensures that it offers no significant hazard to anyone on the ground.

After Sárneczky’s first discovery, observatories worldwide sprang into action to catch a glimpse of the approaching impactor and fine-tune its trajectory in the seven hours before impact.

It wasn’t until a second observation 40 minutes later that scientists knew their initial find wasn’t a fluke, and subsequent statements helped them zero in on exactly when and where the phenomenon would affect Earth’s upper atmosphere: directly above the English Channel.

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A Magnificent Spectacle Occurs When An Asteroid Crashes Onto Earth Above Europe

On the same night that Americans watched the Super Bowl, a similar event occurred in Europe. On Monday morning, the sky above Western Europe was lit up by the impact of an asteroid found only hours before.

The asteroid, now known as Sar2667, was discovered for the first time on the evening of February 12 by a Hungarian astronomer. He found it while on a usual search for NEOs with a 2-foot telescope, he told

According to him, “it was instantly evident that it was a NEO, although it wasn’t especially fast across the sky, since it was travelling right towards us, and it was faint.”

European Space Agency Operations issued a statement Sunday night saying the 1-meter meteoroid was likely to safely enter the atmosphere over northern France later that night after additional observatories confirmed its existence and direction.

The International Meteor Organization said that just before 3 a.m. UT, an “extremely bright ending flash of the meteor” was seen, confirming that the tiny asteroid, now designated 2023 CX1, had hit Earth’s atmosphere. The city of Rouen, the Normandy region capital, was on its path.

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