Featured Image: Fireball After a Temporary Capture?


This image of a fireball was captured in the Czech Republic by cameras at a digital autonomous observatory in the village of Kunžak. This observatory is part of a network of stations known as the European Fireball Network, and this particular meteoroid detection, labeled EN130114, is notable because it has the lowest initial velocity of any natural object ever observed by the network. Led by David Clark (University of Western Ontario), the authors of a recent study speculate that before this meteoroid impacted Earth, it may have been a Temporarily Captured Orbiter (TCO). TCOs are near-Earth objects that make a few orbits of Earth before returning to heliocentric orbits. Only one has ever been observed to date, and though they are thought to make up 0.1% of all meteoroids, EN130114 is the first event ever detected that exhibits conclusive behavior of a TCO. For more information on EN130114 and why TCOs are important to study, check out the paper below!


David L. Clark et al 2016 AJ 151 135. doi:10.3847/0004-6256/151/6/135