Earthgrazer in Brazil may have been a interstellar meteor

Tempo de leitura: 3 min

Bólidos e Fireballsdestaques

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An earthgrazer meteor that occurred in Rio Grande do Sul last May 30th, may have been generated by an interstellar meteoroid, that is, coming from outside the Solar System. This is the conclusion of BRAMON, the Brazilian Meteor Observation Network, after analyzing the meteor recorded by two cameras in Taquara, in Rio Grande do Sul and in Tangará, in Santa Catarina. Check out the video:

The meteor occurred at 23:02 last Sunday, May 30, 2021, and was recorded by stations CFJ7 located at the Heller & Jung Observatory, in Taquara, Rio Grande do Sul, and TBT1 in Tangará, Santa Catarina, respectively managed by Dr. Carlos Jung and by Thiago Boesing.


From the analysis of the images recorded at the stations, BRAMON concluded that the meteor was an earthgrzer. It hit Earth’s atmosphere at an angle of 6.1 deg, relative to the ground, and began to glow at 162.7 km heigh south of Capão Comprido, RS. It headed north at 230700 km/h, covering 243.6 km in 3.8 seconds, and disappeared 137.0 km heigh, east of Carlos Barbosa, RS.


Trajetória do Meteoro pela Atmosfera - Créditos: BRAMON

Meteor trajectory – Credits: BRAMON

An earthgrazer is a meteor that grazes the Earth’s atmosphere and travels extensives distances in the upper layers of the atmosphere. Generally an earthgrazer doesn’t glow as brightly and doesn’t have flares (explosions). Depending on its size and speed, the object may escape back to space, like a rock that bounces off water when thrown grazing a lake.

Possible interstellar origin

Another fact that stands out is the high speed achieved by this meteor. Very fast meteors may have cometary origin, coming from the outer solar system, or even outside it.

Órbita hiperbólica do meteoroide - Créditos: BRAMON

Hyperbolic orbit of the meteoroid – Credits: BRAMON

In the case of the earthgrazer recorded in Rio Grande do Sul, preliminary analyzes indicate that it was generated by a meteoroid coming from outside the Solar System. If this is confirmed, it will be the first interstellar meteor recorded by BRAMON, which shows that the phenomenon is extremely rare and that it is worth studying in more depth.


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