A new study suggests that the first interstellar meteorite that hit our planet was discovered. Back in 2017, scientists detected the first interstellar object, and they named it Oumuamua. Oumuamua is shaped like a cigar and measures 400 meters.
According to Avi Loeb who is the chair of astronomy at Harvard, small interstellar objects should be way more common, and they should even collide with our planet often enough. Loeb and Amir Siraj (who is the lead author of the study) claim that they discovered another interstellar visitor, a meteor.
In order to find it, scientists took a close look at the catalog of meteor events from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. The United States government sensors detected the events in the record. The researchers focused on the fastest meteors since they are more likely to come from outside the solar system.
An interstellar meteorite hit Earth in 2014
Harvard scientists managed to find an interstellar meteorite that is 0.9 meters wide. The object was first detected on January 8th, back in 2014, and it was 18,7 kilometers over a point close to Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island in the South Pacific. Based on its trajectory and speed, scientists believe that the meteor came from outside the solar system. The high speed of the object was of about 216,000 km/h.
“We can use the atmosphere of the Earth as the detector for these meteors, which are too small to see otherwise,” Loeb explained “You can imagine that if these meteors were ejected from the habitable zone of a star, they could help transfer life from one planetary system to another.
Around 30 years of data were analyzed. Researchers also discovered two new meteors that had similar speeds, although their orbit didn’t confirm that they were interstellar. According to the research, an interstellar meteorite hit Earth in 2014.