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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Meteor that hit Earth came from beyond the solar system - CNET

"The man who argues interstellar object Oumuamua could have been an alien spacecraft now says a meteor that hit Earth's atmosphere in 2014 also came from elsewhere in the Milky Way, perhaps carrying life with it.

Harvard astronomer Abraham "Avi" Loeb and undergraduate student Amir Siraj have drafted a new paper identifying the second cosmic object to visit the inner solar system from beyond (Oumuamua being the first). The paper has been submitted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, but has yet to be peer reviewed.

"The reported meteor entered the solar system with a speed of 60 km/s (134,216 mph) relative to the local standard of rest (obtained by averaging the motion of all stars in the vicinity of the Sun)," Loeb wrote in an email. "Such a high ejection speed can only be produced in the innermost cores of planetary systems -- interior to the orbit of the Earth around a star like the sun, but in the habitable zone of dwarf stars, hence allowing such objects to carry life from their parent planets."

In other words, according to Siraj and Loeb's calculations, something happened a long, long time ago in a star system far, far away that caused some space debris to be launched into interstellar space at a very high velocity. After traveling some unknown number of light-years at high speed, this interstellar interloper the size of a kitchen oven smacked into our atmosphere on Jan. 8, 2014."

Meteor that hit Earth came from beyond the solar system - CNET

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