Russia Today presented a detailed report on the discovery of an unexpected space traveler that challenges theories about the origin of the solar system.
A fireball over Alberta last year enthralled international astronomers and stargazers, who made an exciting discovery about the meteorite’s cosmic origins.
Professional and amateur astronomers, led by meteorite physicists at the University of Western Ontario (or the University of Western Ontario), were able to capture images and videos of a rocky meteor that shot off into the sky over central Alberta as a spectacular fireball, in 2021.
They have now shown that the fireball that originated at the edge of the solar system was likely made of rock, rather than ice, challenging ancient beliefs about how the solar system formed.
At the edge of our solar system, and halfway to the nearest stars, is a group of icy objects that sail through space, known as the Oort Cloud. Sometimes passing stars propel these icy travelers toward the sun, and we see them as comets with long tails.
Scientists have not yet detected any objects directly in the “Oort Cloud”, but everything that has been discovered so far coming from its direction was made of ice.
Theoretically, the understanding of our solar system’s beginnings is built on the premise that only icy bodies exist in these outer regions and certainly nothing made of rock.
And this concept changed last year after the observation of the rocky meteor that flew in the sky over central Alberta in the form of a fireball, as scientists concluded, since then, that all signs indicate that the origin of this object was precisely in the middle of the “Oort Cloud”.
The results have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy. “This discovery supports a completely different model for the formation of the solar system, a model that supports the idea that large amounts of rocky material co-exist with icy bodies within the Oort Cloud,” said Dennis Vida, a researcher in meteorite physics from the University of Western Ontario. This result is not explained by currently preferred solar system formation models. It’s a complete game changer.”
And all the previous rocky fireballs arrived from a very close distance to the ground, which made this object – which traveled great distances – unexpected.
The cameras of the Global Fireball Observatory, which were developed in Australia and run by the University of Alberta, detected the rocky meteorite the size of a “grapefruit” (about 2 kg). Using the Global Meteor Network’s instruments, scientists from the University of Western Ontario estimated that the fireball was traveling in an orbit normally reserved only for long-period icy comets from the distant Oort Cloud.