In the early afternoon of this Friday, February 1, a phenomenon scared the residents of the northern Cuba. A huge fireball crossed the sky shining brightly and was followed by a loud explosion a few minutes later. A few hours later, the news agencies already gave information about it and broadcast videos that showed the trail of smoke in the moments that followed the passage of the bolide. The meteor was so intense that it was also detected on radar and satellite-images. Some meteorites from this phenomenon have already been found. We study and analyze the available information and we can already conclude some things about this event.
There is a lot of information that helps define the trajectory with which the bolide has passed through the atmosphere. Satellite images suggest that the site of major fragmentation occurred east of Viñales. In addition, the analysis of the smoke trails shown in the videos indicates a South to North trajectory, and from the smoke trail in one of the published photos, we can estimate the direction azimuth with a very good accuracy in around 13 deg.
We still can not calculate the inclination of the trajectory, but we estimate that it should be between 40 and 60 deg. See below some videos and the image that helped us in this calculation:
From the disclosure of the meteor event in CNEOS (Center for Near Earth Object Studies) site, it was possible to move much in determining the orbit of the meteoroid.
The most relevant data for this are the date of the event, namely: 02/01/2019 at 18:17:10 UT and your speed vectors components: Vx = -2, 4 km/s; Vy = 13, 6 km/s and Vz = 8, 7 km/s.
In possession of these data it is possible to trace the trajectory and vector speed to calculate the shape of the orbit.
Orbit of the Cuban meteor:
Orbital period: 256 days.
VG: 14.1 km/s
a = 0.788152 AU
q = 0.398586 AU
e = 0.494278
Peri = 216.8436
Node = 132.2495
i = 10.82391
Cuban meteor. Orbit. Top view
Cuban meteor. Orbit. Top view.
Once the orbit determined, it was time to look for similarities with other objects.
Similarity was found compatible with two asteroids:
Asteroid that has MOID = 0.00071971 AU and that on February 18 (2015) had a rapprochement with the Earth on the order of 0.000722 AU (distance of little more than 108,000 km). This asteroid has estimated size between 3 and 9 meters in diameter.
Asteroid that has MOID = 0.02285 AU, and that on February 27 (2015) had a rapprochement with the Earth on the order of 0.186397 AU (distance of just over 27 million kilometers). This asteroid has estimated size of 754m.
There must be many meteorites. The very intensity of the sonic explosion felt in Viñales suggests that it is a rather massive object. Some of these meteorites have already been found and in a first analysis of the photos, we clearly see that it is a chondrite. It has many fusion veins that sometimes separate darker areas from a lighter matrix, which characterizes a breccia. The meteorite does not have easily visible corndrules even in the closest images, tb we do not see the brightness of metallic flakes and the homogeneous matrix. These characteristics seem to indicate a L6 class meteorite.