A fireball meteor blazed over the skies of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, last month on May 30. Experts believe that the fireball could be the third interstellar object that has visited the Solar System.
The meteor is considered an Earthgrazer as it hit the Earth's atmosphere at 6.1 degrees. Brazil's Meteor Watch Network (BRAMON) made the classification after experts analyzed two cameras that recorded the event in Taquara, Rio Grande do Sul and Tangará, Santa Catarina.
There are only two interstellar objects ever recorded to have entered the Solar System. These are the Oumuamua and Comet 2I/Borisov. Most of the comets and meteors that are observed from Earth are local rocks found in the Solar System that orbits the Sun, according to MailOnline.
Fireball Over Brazil is An Earthgrazer Meteor
The space rock that passed through the skies of Brazil is believed to have come from outside the Solar System.
"An earthgrazer meteor that occurred in the Rio Grande do Sul last May 30th, may have been generated by an interstellar meteoroid, that is, coming from outside the solar system," BRAMON said in a translated statement.
The meteor starts to turn into a fireball at an altitude of 101 miles (162.7 kilometers) south of Capão Comprido, RS, the Daily Mail reported.
BRAMON also highlighted the great speed at which the fireball blazed. It noted that the fireball was traveling at speeds of 143,350 miles per hour (230,700 kilometers per hour). That is equivalent to 151 miles (243.6km) in 3.8 seconds before disappearing at the east of Carlos Barbosa, Rio Grande do Sul state.
Earthgrazers, like the fireball that blazed over Brail, "can travel a considerable distance before getting low enough to completely burn up," according to NASA's blogpost.
Brazil's Fireball is the Third Interstellar Object that Visited the Solar System
Interstellar objects entering the Solar System are extremely rare and the science around it is nascent and controversial, according to CNet.
The first interstellar object ever recorded that visited the Solar System was dubbed as Oumuamua. Its discovery has been the subject of many debates among scientists with some astronomers believing it may have been some sort of extraterrestrial spacecraft.
Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb and others analyzed the data of several meteors and said that perhaps some of the objects that made it to Earth may have come from other star systems at some point.
Scientists believe that understanding and chasing interstellar objects like the Oumuamua and Comet 2I/Borisov, and now the fireball that blazed over Brazil, could one day provide new insights into the nature of the universe. However, they also acknowledge that collecting pieces of interstellar objects that have entered Earth might be easier said than done.
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