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2014’s First Asteroid Discovery!

The first asteroid to be discovered in 2014 appears to have broken up over the Atlantic Ocean, according to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office.  Entering Earth's atmosphere in the early hours of January 1, 2014, this small asteroid, labeled 2014 AA, was first identified by researchers at the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) near Tucson, Arizona.  Subsequently, data from infrasound observation stations around the world was used to determine a likely location of the 7 to 10 foot (2 to 3 meter) asteroid's break-up over the mid-Atlantic.

Asteroid 2014 AA is only the second asteroid to be tracked as it approaches and then impacts with our planet.  The first, asteroid 2008 TC3, was also identified by CSS before it broke up over northern Sudan in 2008.  The associated meteorite, Almahata Sitta, an anomalous ureilite (achondrite), was later collected and analyzed.

View an animation of asteroid 2014 AA's flight, as well as a map of its potential impact location, and read about its discovery here!

Asteroid 2014 AA Trajectory
Trajectory of the final hours of asteroid 2014 AA. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech