Origins of mysterious fireball that exploded over Earth uncovered by scientists

An mysterious fireball that caused a dramatic explosion above Earth has been traced to its original source.

A team of scientists looked at the space rock's journey and discovered it was no normal meteor.

Instead, the object had travelled all the way across the Solar System from the Oort Cloud – a sphere of icy objects found beyond Pluto, ScienceAlert reported.

READ MORE: 'Dependent' man-children are killing women's sex drives, according to science

While it isn't uncommon for material from the Oort Cloud to make the journey across the Milky Way toward the Sun, the discovery has surprised scientists, who called it a "game-changer".

"This discovery supports an entirely different model of the formation of the Solar System, one which backs the idea that significant amounts of rocky material co-exist with icy objects within the Oort Cloud," physicist Denis Vida, of the University of Western Ontario in Canada, explained.

"This result is not explained by the currently favored Solar System formation models. It's a complete game changer."

So far, Oort Cloud items that have made their way to us have been icy and have had very elliptical orbits.

  • Cheeky teen provides 'evidence' to teacher after 'dog chews up homework'

Researchers would normally expect frozen ammonia, methane or water to be tracked back to the Oort Cloud – but not rock.

In February 2021, however, this changed.

The fireball was spotted a whopping 100km (62 miles) north of Edmonton, Canada, with scientists watching it travel 148.5km in 2.4 seconds before it exploded.

Vida's team discovered the rock measured about 10cm across and weighed around 2kg (4.4 lbs).

It is thought the rock came further into the atmosphere than any of the icy objects travelling from its home before it since records began.

"In 70 years of regular fireball observations, this is one of the most peculiar ever recorded," astronomer Hadrien Devillepoix of Curtin University in Australia said.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

"It validates the strategy of the Global Fireball Observatory established five years ago, which widened the 'fishing net' to 5 million square kilometers of skies, and brought together scientific experts from around the globe.

"It not only allows us to find and study precious meteorites, but it is the only way to have a chance of catching these rarer events that are essential to understanding our Solar System."

READ NEXT:

  • Lockerbie bombing suspect accused of 'destroying' passenger plane in US custody

  • 'My family were digitally kidnapped by thief who stole identities off Instagram'

  • Girl, 13, tore branches off trees in bid to save 4 boys who fell in frozen Solihull lake

Source: Read Full Article