The IAU has confirmed that the asteroid originally designated ZLAF9B2 – now called 2018 LA – passed only 30 miles (50 km) over South Africa on Saturday.

The International Astronomical Union has now confirmed that a small asteroid – discovered on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018 – entered Earth’s atmosphere later that day. The object was originally given the temporary designation of ZLAF9B2, but has now been renamed as asteroid 2018 LA by the IAU. It surprised astronomers shortly after its discovery, when its trajectory suggested it would pass very, very close to Earth just hours later. The IAU said:

The object reached 50-km [30-mile] height above the Earth’s surface around 16:51 UTC over southern Africa.

There are reports of sightings of a bright meteor, as well as a video that may be related to the event, from Barend Swanepoel in South Africa. He reports the video as being:

… taken near my dad’s farm between Ottosdal and Hartbeesfontein.

Another witness in South Africa described the meteor as very bright, and showing a yellow color.

This space rock had an estimated size of only 10-16 feet (3 to 5 meters) in diameter. If it struck (and sometimes they do, and meteorite pieces are found), it was too small to cause serious damages. In contrast, the impressive meteor seen over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February, 2013 was an estimated 60 feet wide (20 meters). It broke windows in six Russian cities and caused more than 1,500 people to seek medical attention, mostly due to injuries from flying glass. The June 2 asteroid wasn’t big enough to do anything like that, but it was big enough to produce a spectacular, very bright meteor.

The 60-inch (1.5-meter) telescope at Mt. Lemmon, which is part of the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, was the first to detect asteroid ZLAF9B2 on Saturday morning, according to clocks in North America.

According to NASA/JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), asteroid ZLAF9B2 approached Earth at 27,738 miles per hour (44,640 km per hour).