HomeEconomyRare Aubrite Meteorite Fragments Recovered After Explosion Over Berlin

Rare Aubrite Meteorite Fragments Recovered After Explosion Over Berlin

In a remarkable feat, a team of scientists from various institutions in Berlin, along with the SETI Institute, successfully located fragments of a rare type of meteorite known as “aubrites” after a meter-sized asteroid (2024 BX1) exploded over Berlin’s skies.

The fragments were discovered by a team led by SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens and Museum für Naturkunde (MfN) researcher Dr. Lutz Hecht, with assistance from staff and students from several institutions.

Despite the challenging nature of aubrites, which differ significantly in appearance from typical meteorites, the team managed to find the fragments in fields south of the village of Ribbeck, about 50 km west of Berlin. Aubrites, composed mainly of magnesium silicates enstatite and forsterite, lack the black glass crust common in other meteorites, making them difficult to identify.

The asteroid (2024 BX1) was first detected by Hungarian astronomer Dr. Krisztián Sárneczky using telescopes at the Konkoly Observatory in Budapest. Tracking its trajectory and predicting its atmospheric entry were tasks handled by NASA’s Scout mission and the ESA’s Meerkat Asteroid Guard impact hazard assessment systems.

The explosion, akin to the Chelyabinsk meteorite event in 2013, was witnessed by many but caused no damage. This marks Jenniskens’ fourth successful recovery of a meteorite, following impacts in France (2023), Botswana (2018), and Sudan (2008).

After conducting initial analyses, Dr. Ansgar Greshake, scientific head of MfN’s meteorite collection, confirmed that the recovered fragments align with the aubrite type. This classification, submitted to the International Nomenclature Commission of the Meteoritical Society, underscores the rarity of such events and the crucial role of meteorite collections in scientific research.

The successful recovery and analysis of these fragments provide valuable insights into our understanding of meteorites and their origins, further highlighting the significance of collaborative efforts in astronomical research.

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