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Drive recorder detective work leads to space rock recovery from Slovenian fireball

48 grams portion of Novomest meteorite. Credit: Bojan Ambrožič

On February 28, 2020, at 10:30 Central European Standard Time, hundreds of people from Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary observed a sphere of bright light sprinting across the morning sky. The delivery of this rock from a distant asteroid to fields and villages in southern Slovenia was captured by car drive recorders, security cameras, and even cyclist helmets. It is one of only about 40 fallen cosmic rocks that have been recovered within a few weeks and whose origins in the solar system have been traced. The first results were presented at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 Virtual Conference by Dr. Denis Vida of the University of Western Ontario.


An observer in southern Slovenia, just below the road, reported that a large explosion and a flash of three and a half seconds left visible dust marks for several minutes. Analysis shows that some debris withstood aerodynamic pressure of over 10 million pascals, one of the highest measurements recorded in space rock drops, 50 times the pressure of car tires. fireball..

It is believed that the mass of the first stone before entering the Earth’s atmosphere was 4 meters tons and about 1 meter in diameter. The video footage shows that the fireball is divided into 17 small pieces. Three fragments weighing up to 720 grams were recovered and taken to the laboratory for analysis. It is the largest piece that can be seen falling, with an estimated mass of about 10 kilograms, but has not yet been discovered. It may have fallen into a muddy field and may have been accidentally cultivated before the fall area was known.

Rocks from space provide an opportunity to understand the history of our solar system and are important in studying how life occurred on Earth. However, the location of the fall is often unknown or remains hidden, Space rock‘The scientific message is then lost. To address this, astronomers deploy a network of fireball cameras to measure the exact path of the fireball by comparing the position of the fireball with the stars in the background. This means that you can see where they can collect rocks in space and trace back where they came from in our solar system. However, these networks are designed to work at night.

Synthesis of video observations of Slovenian fireballs from Croatia, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia. Credit: Denis Vida et al
Drive recorder image of a fireball observed from Sesvete, Croatia. Adjusted using the height of the streetlight pole. Credit: Denis Vida et al.
Drive recorder detective work leads to space rock recovery from Slovenian fireball

Fireball fragmentation observed from Sesvete, Croatia. Credit: Damir Šegon

“By combining observations from multiple cameras about 100 km apart, we can pinpoint the location of the fireball within 50 m. It is usually fairly easy to calculate atmospheric and pre-atmospheric orbits this way. That’s what Vida said. “The path of the fireball is in the volume of the world’s sky most closely observed by professional night-operated cameras. If it happened just a few hours ago, the path would have been captured by at least 20 people. The fireball was recorded in a day with a dash camera traveling up to 70 km / h, so a different approach was needed. “

To help create 3D models, locals will take some pictures from known locations in buildings, phone stanchions, distant mountains, and other landmarks that appear in dashcam videos. Was asked for. These images allow for accurate triangulation within a few centimeters, similar to a surveyor using theodolite. The photo was taken on a starry night, so after calibrating the window sill and other known points, I was able to map all the pixels in the original image in the correct orientation. The most difficult thing was to determine the exact coordinates for every video frame from the dashcam footage of a moving vehicle with an accuracy of about 1 centimeter. This was a long and tedious task.

Studying the brightness of a fireball across the sky can show how it fragmented. However, the stars in the night sky will be used again for reference. Daytime observations meant the team had to innovate again, buying the same dash camera that recorded the fireballs and comparing the brightness of the fireballs in the video with known artificial analogs. ..

Analysis of the Novomest space rock, named after the city of Slovenia near where the debris was found, is underway. Although it is a “ordinary chondrite” type meteorite, it is interesting that it is linked to the region of the solar system where near-Earth objects exist, and teaches something of a few earlier larger neighbors that are potentially dangerous to Earth. There is a possibility that it will help you.


Rare meteor showers and meteorite falls have been observed in global projects


For more information:
Denis Vida et al, Novo Mesto Meteorite Fall – Fragmentation Analysis from Orbits, Orbits, and Optical Observations, (2021). DOI: 10.5194 / epsc2021-139

Provided by Europlanet

Quote: Drive recorder detective work, acquired from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-dashcam-recovery-space-fireball-slovenia.html on September 21, 2021 Slovenia (September 2021) 21st) will lead to the recovery of space rocks from the fireball

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Drive recorder detective work leads to space rock recovery from Slovenian fireball

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