A pair of researchers who previously identified what may be the first known interstellar meteor to impact Earth have now presented evidence of a second object that could have originated beyond the solar system, before it burned up in our planet’s skies and potentially fell to the surface, according to a new study.
Amir Siraj, a student in astrophysics at Harvard University, and astronomer Avi Loeb, who serves as Harvard’s Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, suggest that a fast-moving meteor that burst into a fireball hundreds of miles off the coast of Portugal on March 9, 2017, is an “additional interstellar object candidate” that they call interstellar meteor 2 (IM2) in a study posted to the preprint server arXiv this week. The paper has not been peer-reviewed.
In addition to their potential origin beyond the solar system, these objects appear to be extraordinarily robust, as they rank as the first- and third-highest meteors in material strength in a NASA catalog that has collected data about hundreds of fireballs.
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