The stony meteorite that exploded over Canada last year was more extraordinary than it seemed at first glance: it originated from the outer solar system where scientists thought only icy bodies existed.
A parade of both professional and amateur astronomers captured photos and videos of the meteorites It also exploded over Alberta. By studying this data, the researchers concluded that the meteorite crashed like a rocky body, surviving to an even deeper depth. Earth’s atmosphere than icy bodies do in similar trajectories. However, the analysis also suggested that the meteorite came from Oort cloudfurther Pluto. The discovery of a rocky body from this region could rewrite existing theories about how rocks work Solar System formed.
“This discovery supports a completely different model for the formation of the solar system, one that supports the idea that large amounts of rocky material coexist with icy bodies within the Oort Cloud,” Dennis Vida, a meteorologist at Western University in Canada, said in a statement. statment. “This result is not explained by currently favored solar system formation models. It’s a complete game changer.”
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A cold, rocky meteorite
Scientists have long believed that the Oort cloud consists exclusively of icy bodies. When transiting stars replace these Oort cloud objects, they head out into the inner solar system comets. As they do so, radiation from the Sun causes the ice to transform from a solid to a gaseous, blasting off gas and dust that forms the typical cometary tail of gas and dust that can extend for millions of miles or kilometres.
While astronomers have not seen an object in the Oort Cloud directly, they have seen many cometary objects that started life in the area all made of ice. This is how scientists came to the idea that the outer solar system consists of only icy bodies and nothing rocky – a hypothesis they used to develop theories about the formation of our planetary system.
Stony fireballs are observed fairly commonly, but all previous examples originated from much closer to LandWhich makes this long-distance traveler completely unexpected.
The University of Alberta captured a 4.4-pound (2 kg) grapefruit-sized stony meteorite using the Global Fireball Observatory (GFO) cameras developed in Australia. Then Western researchers calculated the meteor’s global network tools around its orbit. This revealed that the meteorite was traveling in an orbit normally occupied only by long-period icy comets from the Oort Cloud.
“In 70 years of regular fireball observations, this is some of the most unusual ever recorded,” Hadrian Devilpoix, a planetary astronomer at Curtin University in Australia and principal investigator at the Peasant Regional Office, said in the release.
“It validates the strategy of the regional office set up five years ago, which expanded the ‘fishing net’ to 5 million square kilometers of sky and brought together scientific experts from around the world,” said Devilpoix. “Not only does it allow us to find and study precious meteorites, but it is the only way to have a chance to capture these rare events that are essential to understanding our solar system.”
The team now wants to explain how this rocky meteorite ended up so far out of the inner solar system, in hopes that the information will help better understand the formation of the solar system’s planets and Earth.
“The better we understand the conditions in which the solar system formed, the better we will understand what is necessary to spark life,” said Veda. “We want to paint a picture, as accurately as possible, of these early moments in the solar system that were so crucial to everything that happened after that.”
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