It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Only four and a half hours before impact, they were able to use the ISIS spectrograph on the William Herschel Telescope to measure how light reflected from its surface.
UK astronomers, using the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) William Herschel Telescope on La Palma, observed a rare asteroid as it was hurtling towards our planet and have captured the only spectrum of it before it exploded in our atmosphere.
This is the very first time that an asteroid that hit the Earth has been studied before entering our atmosphere, allowing the scientists to predict whether it would explode and break up in the atmosphere or reach the ground - which determines whether an asteroid poses any threat.
The results of the international collaboration studying the asteroid are published in this week's (March 26th) issue of Nature.