The Precious Space Rock that Fell in Germany

The Precious Space Rock that Fell in Germany

The Precious Space Rock that Fell in Germany https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/20065405/3-The-Precious-Space-Rock-that-Fell-in-Germany-.gif 414 232 Asteroid Day Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/20065405/3-The-Precious-Space-Rock-that-Fell-in-Germany-.gif

In January, fragments of a small asteroid fell about 100 kilometres from Berlin, the capital of Germany. The object, named 2024 BX1, was discovered by Krisztián Sárneczky, Hungarian professor and astronomer at the Piszkéstetõ Observatory. This discovery marked the eighth asteroid found and projected to encounter Earth shortly prior to impact, and notably the third of its kind exclusively identified by Sárneczky.

Animation based on a images sequence taken by Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky that helped discover the asteroid. It was later named 2024 BX1. Note a small dot moving in the center. (Krisztián Sárneczky X profile)

Initial observations of this asteroid were recorded shortly before 22:00 (UTC) on January 20th. The swift movement of the object suggested its proximity to Earth. Sárneczky’s observational data was transmitted to the Minor Planet Center, which published it on the NEO Confirmation Centre page iwith the aim of encouraging additional observations by astronomers from various regions across the globe.

Asteroid 2024BX1 detected 25 minutes before impact. Note a small line in the center. (A.Sonka/The Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy)

With the help of the Scout System, the trajectory of the asteroid was calculated and new observational data received confirmed the object’s impact on the region belonging to Germany. To be precise, in the early hours of January 21, asteroid 2024 BX1 traversed the Earth’s atmosphere above Germany, undergoing combustion and disintegration in an area located west of Berlin.

One of the images of asteroid 2024 BX1 entering and burning in the atmosphere, causing a bright fireball visible in part of Europe (ALLSKY7 / Sirko Molau – AMS16 Ketzuer)

Only four days later, its first fragments were found near the German city of Retzow. Extensive examination of these fragments indicates their affiliation with the uncommon category of achondrites identified as aubrites. Currently, there are only 87 known samples of this particular type of space rock, originating from 17 geographic locations across the world.

One of the fragments of asteroid 2024 BX1 that recently fell near Berlin. Remarkable white crystals visible on the space rock may suggest the presence of an uncommon composition. (Filip Nikodem/ Sky & Telescope)

Aubrites differ from the typical perception of meteorites. They look more like a grey granite and primarily consist of magnesium silicates, enstatite and forsterite. Aubrites are characterised by minimal iron content and possess a distinct glossy exterior that sets them apart from the majority of other meteorites. The challenge lies in their resemblance to terrestrial rocks, making their identification in the field quite challenging.

See also:
Asteroid that impacted near Berlin identified as a rare Aubrite – SETI Institute
Asteroid 2024 BX1 – Eyes on Asteroids Simulator
LEARN – What are Near Earth Asteroids (NEA)?
LEARN – What are Potentially Hazardous Asteroids?