Harvard scientists discover the first interstellar meteor colliding with Earth, confirms US military

A meteor traveled quite far from home to visit Earth. Related video above: Top astronomical events in April 2022Scientists discovered the first known interstellar meteor to ever hit Earth, according to a recently released document from the United States Space Command. An interstellar meteor is a space rock that originates from outside our solar system – a rare occurrence. This is known as CNEOS 2014-01-08, and it crashed along the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea on January 8, 2014. The discovery came as a surprise to Amir Siraj, who identified the object as an interstellar meteor in a 2019 study that he co-authored a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University. Siraj studied ╩╗Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object in our solar system, found in 2017, with Abraham Loeb, a professor of science at Harvard University. Near Earth Object Studies database to find other interstellar objects and found what he thought was an interstellar meteor within days. The meteor was moving at a high speed of about 28 miles per second (45 kilometers per second) relative to Earth, which is moving at about 18.6 miles per second around the sun. Because scientists measured how fast the meteor was moving while on a planet in motion, 45 kilometers per second was actually not how fast it was moving. The heliocentric velocity is defined as the velocity of the meteor relative to the sun, which is a more accurate way of determining the orbit of an object. It is calculated from the angle at which a meteor hits the Earth. The planet is moving in one direction around the sun, so the meteor could have hit the Earth frontally, which means the opposite direction the planet is moving, or from behind, in the same direction as the Earth is moving. When the meteor hit Earth from behind, Siraj’s calculations said the meteor actually traveled at about 37.3 miles per second relative to the sun. He then mapped the meteor’s orbit and found that it was in an unbound orbit, unlike the closed orbit of other meteors. This means that instead of orbiting the sun like other meteors, it came from outside the solar system. ” colliding with Earth, “Siraj said. Difficulties in getting Loeb and Siraj published have not been able to get their results published in a journal because their data came from NASA’s CNEOS database, which does not reveal information such as how accurate the readings are. years of trying to get the necessary additional information, they received official confirmation that it was in fact an interstellar meteor, from John Shaw, deputy commander of the US Space Command. The command is part of the US Department of Defense and is responsible for military operations in outer space. “Dr. Joel Mozer, Chief Researcher of the Space Operations Command, US Space Force’s service component in the US Space Command, reviewed the analysis of additional data available to the Department of Defense related “Dr. Mozer confirmed that the velocity estimate reported to NASA is accurate enough to indicate an interstellar orbit,” Shaw wrote in the letter. Siraj had switched to other research and almost forgotten his discovery, so the document came as a shock. “I thought we would never learn the true nature of this meteor, that it was just blocked somewhere in government after our many attempts, and so actually seeing that letter from the Department of Defense with my eyes was a really incredible moment, “Siraj said. Another chance, since receiving the confirmation, Siraj said his team is working on resubmitting their results for publication in a scientific journal. Siraj would also like to put a team together to try to retrieve part of the meteor that landed in Pacific, however, admitted that it would be an unlikely option due to the large size of the project. to help scientists discover more about the world outside our solar system. NASA and the US Space Command did not initially respond for comment.

A meteor traveled quite far from home to visit Earth.

Related video above: Top astronomy events for April 2022

Scientists discovered the first known interstellar meteor to ever hit Earth, according to a recently released US Space Command document. An interstellar meteor is a space rock that originates from outside our solar system – a rare occurrence.

This is known as CNEOS 2014-01-08, and it crashed along the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea on January 8, 2014.

The discovery came as a surprise to Amir Siraj, who identified the object as an interstellar meteor in a 2019 study he co-authored while a bachelor at Harvard University.

Siraj studied ╩╗Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object in our solar system, which was found in 2017, together with Abraham Loeb, a professor of science at Harvard University.

Siraj decided to go through NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies database to find other interstellar objects and found what he thought was an interstellar meteor within days.

A need for speed

The high speed of the meteor is what originally caught Siraj’s eye.

The meteor was moving at a high speed of about 28 miles per second (45 kilometers per second) relative to Earth, which is moving at about 18.6 miles per second around the sun. Because scientists measured how fast the meteor was moving while on a planet in motion, 45 kilometers per second was actually not how fast it was moving.

The heliocentric velocity is defined as the velocity of the meteor relative to the sun, which is a more accurate way of determining the orbit of an object. It is calculated from the angle at which a meteor hits the Earth. The planet is moving in one direction around the sun, so the meteor could have hit the Earth frontally, meaning the opposite direction the planet is moving, or from behind, in the same direction as the Earth is moving.

Since the meteor hit Earth from behind, Siraj’s calculations said the meteor actually traveled at about 37.3 miles per second relative to the sun.

He then mapped the orbit of the meteor and found that it was in an unbound orbit, as opposed to the closed orbit of other meteors. This means that instead of circulating around the sun like other meteors, it came outside the solar system.

“Presumably it was produced by another star, was thrown out of that star’s planetary system and happened to come our way to our solar system and collided with Earth,” Siraj said.

Hard to get published

Loeb and Siraj have not been able to get their results published in a journal because their data came from NASA’s CNEOS database, which does not reveal information such as how accurate the readings are.

After several years of trying to get the necessary additional information, they received official confirmation that it was in fact an interstellar meteor, from John Shaw, deputy commander of the US Space Command. The command is part of the U.S. Department of Defense and is responsible for military operations in outer space.

“Dr. Joel Mozer, Chief Scientist of the Space Operations Command, the US Space Force’s service component in the US Space Command, reviewed the analysis of additional data available to the Department of Defense in connection with this finding. Dr. Mozer confirmed that the speed estimate reported to NASA is sufficiently accurate to indicate an interstellar orbit, “Shaw wrote in the letter.

Siraj had switched to other research and had almost forgotten his discovery, so the document came as a shock.

“I thought we would never learn the true nature of this meteor, that it was just blocked somewhere in government after our many attempts, and so actually seeing that letter from the Department of Defense with my eyes was a truly incredible moment,” he said. Siraj.

Another chance

Since receiving the confirmation, Siraj said his team is working on resubmitting their findings for publication in a scientific journal.

Siraj would also like to put a team together to try to pick up part of the meteor that landed in the Pacific, but admitted it would be an unlikely option due to the large size of the project.

If scientists were able to get their fingers in the “holy grail of interstellar objects,” Siraj said it would be scientifically groundbreaking in helping scientists discover more about the world outside our solar system.

NASA and the US Space Command did not initially respond for comment.

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