Grazing trajectory of event DN170707_01
Grazing trajectory of event DN170707_01

Grazing Meteoroid Spends 90 sec at Earth, Says 'Yeah, Nah' and Heads Towards Jupiter

April 01, 2020

A grazing fireball is observed crossing the DFN network.

On July 7, 2017, the Desert Fireball Network observed a fantastic grazing fireball that traveled over 1300 km through the atmosphere above Western Australia and South Australia. The closest approach was about 58.5km, and the initial mass is estimated to be a minimum of ~60 kg according to the trajectory fit to the equations of motion.

The rock came from an Apollo-type orbit, and due to the close encounter with the Earth, it was sent onto a Jupiter-family comet-like orbit. The meteoroid will have multiple close encounters with Jupiter in its future. The first of these will occur in 2025.

The object is predicted to stay on a JFC orbit for ~200 kyrs. Afterward, it will likely be ejected from the Solar System or flung onto trans-Neptunian orbit.

Right now, we are working on estimating how common these natural slingshot encounters are. We are doing this by using DFN data in conjunction with global impact flux estimates to approximate the close encounter population for centimeter-meter objects.

Read the preprint!

Read about it in the New York Times!