Meteor Hitting Earth in 2014 Was First Recorded Interstellar Object, Scientists Say
- April, 18, 2022 - 17:13
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Experts have discovered that the meteor that hit Earth in 2014 was from outside the solar system.
Scientists originally believed that the first interstellar object that they detected, an object called 1I/'Oumuamua, was spotted in October 2017.
However, when Dr. Amir Siraj and Dr. Abraham Loeb of the Department of Astronomy of Harvard University were studying the object, they discovered another that preceded it. In 2014, a meteor streaked across the sky off the coast of Manus Island, Papua New Guinea that hit the Earth's atmosphere at 45 kilometers per second.
Researchers say that any object traveling at speeds greater than 42 kilometers per second is considered to be interstellar.
The meter-sized object was detected by a classified US government satellite that was created to detect foreign missiles, according to Siraj.
The duo determined with 99.999% certainty that the meteor was the first interstellar object discovered. However, because their information relied on an anonymous US government employee, the paper was turned down.
Matt Daniels, who was working for the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the time, helped the scientists receive official confirmation after reviewing the paper.
"Three years after our original discovery, the first object originating from outside of the solar system observed to strike the Earth—the first known interstellar meteor—has officially been recognized," Siraj said.
Siraj and Loeb are once again submitting the paper for publication, according to reports.