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» 05.05.2011 - Pan-African parliamentary science forum launched
» 09.06.2010 - Open-source software intakes African universities
» 14.04.2010 - New broadband network for Africa approved
» 12.04.2010 - Africa's research output dominated by three nations
» 06.04.2010 - Is computer learning becoming redundant in Africa?
» 11.02.2010 - Education still under attack - Unesco
» 20.01.2010 - Poor nations’ children’s education at stake
» 19.01.2010 - Online consultations to help poor nations’ energy strategy

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Small space rock expected over Sudanese sky

afrol News, 7 October - A small space rock 'asteroid' measuring several feet in diameter was expected to enter earth atmosphere over northern Sudan before dawn today, setting off a potentially brilliant natural fireworks display.

However, no sizable fragments are expected to survive the sizzling passage through Earth's atmosphere.

"We estimate objects this size enter Earth's atmosphere once every few months. The unique aspect of this event is that it is the first time we have observed an impacting object during its final approach," said Don Yeomans of Near-Earth Object Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The small space rock, designated 2008 TC3, is expected to travel on an eastward trajectory, which will reportedly carry it toward Red Sea.

"Observers in region could be in for quite a show. When object enters atmosphere, it could become an extremely bright fireball," Mr Yeomans noted.

The rock is said to have first been observed by Mount Lemon telescope of NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey early yesterday. NASA detects and tracks asteroids and comets passing close to Earth.

The Near Earth Object Observation Program, commonly called "Space-guard," plots orbits of these objects to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet, reports show.

They further indicate that objects of this size would be expected to enter Earth's atmosphere every few months on average, adding however that this is the first time such an event has been predicted ahead of time.

Since its discovery barely a day ago, 2008 TC3 has reportedly been observed extensively by astronomers around world, and hence precise orbit predictions.

According to Space-guard, time at which any fragments of the rock might reach the ground depends a great deal on physical properties of the object.

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