On September 22, 2020, a small space rock slid through the Earth’s atmosphere and returned to space. The meteorite was spotted by a camera from the Global Meteor Network, which was seen in the sky above northern Germany and the Netherlands. It came to a height of 91 km (56 mi) in height – far below any satellites – before it went back into space.
Dennis Vida, a physics postdoc from Western University in Ontario, Canada, who led GMN, said he discovered the rock in the Jupiter-family orbit, but found no conclusive matches in the search for possible parent bodies.
Scientists estimate that Earthgrazing meteoroids occur only a few times per year. But every day, hundreds of tons of tiny inter-planetary materials enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The most common effects these small objects produce when interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere are meteors – commonly called shooting stars. A small percentage of the largest rocks reach the ground in the form of meteorites.
There is no estimate on the size of the Earthgrazer since 22 September, but it was probably quite small. And while thousands of meteorites have been found on Earth, only about 40 an original asteroid or asteroid source can be detected.
For a rock to “bounce” from the Earth’s atmosphere, it has to enter the atmosphere at a fairly shallow angle. And like “closing” a lake, the meteorite also briefly enters the atmosphere before exiting again.
The Global Meteor Network – whose tagline is “No Meteor Unabsorbed” – is working towards covering the world with meteor cameras to provide real-time alerts to the public, as well as to photograph meteorite environments with the Earth.
“The network is basically a decentralized scientific device, made up of amateur astronomers and citizen scientists around the planet with their own camera systems,” said Vida, who founded the initiative. “We make all data such as meteorite trajectories and orbits available to the public and scientific community, with the goal of helping to see the rare meteor shower outbreaks and increasing the number of observed meteorites and understanding the distribution mechanisms of meteorites on Earth . ”
GMN’s station operators whose data are featured in the main animation are Paul Roggemann, Jürgen Dor, Martin Bruckers, Erwin Harkink, Classa Jobsey, Casebroken.