Last weekend, Earth was hit by an asteroid that produced an energy equivalent to 5,000 tons of TNT. Before exploding, astronomers were able to spot the asteroid using telescopes.

According to astronomer Peter Brown, the minor impact event happened on June 22 after a small asteroid exploded in the sky toward south of Puerto Rico. The explosion happened at around 5:30 pm EDT and produced an energy of around 5,000 tons of TNT.

Despite the high amount of energy released by the asteroid, no one was reportedly injured because of the event. This is primarily due to the object burning up and detonating shortly after entering Earth’s atmosphere. Reports indicated that the asteroid was only about 10 feet long.

Ernesto Guido, an astronomer from Italy, noted that the asteroid’s name is 2019 MO or NEOCP A10eoM1. He shared a satellite image captured by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the asteroid as it entered the planet’s atmosphere.

The fact that asteroid 2019 MO was detected by astronomers and space agencies before hitting Earth came as a surprise as it was such a rare event. Although NASA noted that Earth gets frequently hit by small asteroids and meteors every year, spotting them before they enter the atmosphere is a bit uncommon.

In fact, 2019 MO’s recent visit marked only the fourth time an asteroid was detected before it hit Earth, according to CNET. The other instances occurred during the last 12 years. One of them was the small asteroid that exploded over Africa in 2018. This asteroid came so close to the surface that scientists were still able to find small fragments of it on the ground.

Although being able to detect asteroids before hitting Earth is becoming more common within the last couple of years, this does not automatically mean that impact events are becoming more frequent.

Instead, this simply means that the equipment agencies and amateur astronomers use are becoming more sophisticated and accurate when it comes to spotting incoming space rocks. NASA even has a specific department dedicated to monitoring asteroids as they approach Earth’s vicinity.