A meteorite that fell in 2014 did not come from the solar system

His nickname is CNEOS 2014-01-08. This object has been identified by scientists as the first to come from outside the solar system and to crash into the Earth, transmits in particular the American chain. CNN.

The impact took place on January 8, 2014 near the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. This date gave it its name, together with the acronym for the American Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS), that is, objects that pass close to the Earth’s orbit, or even that can collide with the planet. blue.

The announcement was made byUS Space Command, the branch of the US military in charge of space operations, which gives details of the conditions of the find. It is the fruit of the work of Amir Siraj, a researcher at Harvard and his colleague, Abraham Loeb. They had already been interested, in 2017, in Oumuamua, the first object identified in the solar system as coming from beyond. His way had been sometimes associated with that of a cigar or a pancake depending on the viewing angle. Challenged by its surprising trajectory, the two Harvard academics issued a controversial hypothesis, concluding that it could only be a UFO.

As for CNEOS 2014-01-08, it is his movement speed of 60 km per second that, among other things, put Amir Siraj on the trail of an interstellar object. Above all, it is the orbit of this pebble that is a decisive indication. It was not described around the sun, which means that CNEOS 2014-01-08 came from beyond our star system.

“I thought the true nature of this meteor would never be known”

“It probably came from another star, it was ejected from this star’s system before heading in the direction of ours and colliding with Earth,” says Amir Siraj.

The information that allowed Siraj and Loeb’s theory to be validated was provided by the US space command. The confirmation came in the last few days when the two researchers made their discovery in 2019.

Siraj explains that he feared this discovery would be lost in the administrative meanderings of the US government. “I thought the true nature of this meteor would never be known. Receiving the mail from the Ministry of Defense was an incredible moment. He would now like to try to recover pieces of the CNEOS 01-08-2014, but he knows that the mission is especially difficult to carry out even though the study of these pieces would be the “Grail of interstellar objects”. More accessible, he intends to soon publish the research results in a scientific journal.

Shooting star, fireball, meteoroid, meteorite, asteroid, comet: how to find your way around?

  • Basic bodies: asteroids or comets. Initially, we have extraterrestrial bodies that roam among the planets of our solar system -and some of which therefore come from other places-: they are asteroids, inactive bodies made up of rocks, metals and ice, and comets, active bodies made up of by an ice core and surrounded by a thin atmosphere of gas and dust. When their orbit around the sun brings them closer to Earth, they are called near-Earth objects.
  • The state of the objects: meteoroid, meteor or meteorite. A wandering object in interplanetary space has the status of a meteoroid (comets, asteroids or fragments of these). When it enters the Earth’s gravitational field, it is grabbed by gravity and forced through our atmosphere, resulting in its complete or partial combustion. We then pass from the state of meteoroid to that of meteor. If the object is not completely consumed in the atmosphere, the resulting pieces that fall to the Earth’s surface are called meteorites.
  • The observed phenomenon: the fireball or the shooting star. When a meteor (meteoroid that breaks up in the atmosphere) is visible from Earth, the observed phenomenon can be more or less intense. The largest bodies, which generate an intense luminous disk, visible by day, are called fireballs. The smallest, instantly vaporized, generate a trail of dust only visible at night: they are shooting stars.

Leave a Comment