New meteorites with orbits from France and Italy

Two recent events saw the recovery of meteorites for which there is good data on the entry fireballs: first, the fall of the small (ca. 1 m diameter) asteroid 2023 CX1 in France on February 13th, resulting in the discovery of at least 7 meteorite fragements since. Second, the fall of a meteorite on “Valentine’s day”, February 14th, in southern Italy, and the recent detection of the first meteorite fragments. I expect both events to yield meteorites with reliable orbits, in particular, the first one, which was already observed while still in space. From the look of it, both meteorites look like ordinary chondrites.

An iron meteorite with an orbit?

Kyrylenko et al. report in an LPSC abstract (PDF) that they might have found the first iron meteorite with an orbit. The still unnamed, unofficial meteorite (at time of checking the MetBull database on May 24th, 2022) with a mass of 13.7 kg fell on November 7th, 2020, and seems to have a determined orbit with rough parameters of a = 1.9 AU and e = 0.5. More details are certainly forthcoming in a future publication, at which point I will include the orbit on the list.

An iron meteorite with an orbit is a very welcome and exciting addition to the suite of meteorites with orbits. Irons make out only about 4% of all falls, so “it’s about time” we have one among the 40 orbits known today. While the orbital parameters given in the abstract do not look remarkably different, over time – with more iron meteorite orbits to be expected in the future – the picture of iron meteorite origins will become much clearer. /m4

Large fireball in North-Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)

On March 2nd, ca. 23:38 UTC (0:38 local, i.e., CET), a large fireball was observed over North-West Germany, as the IMO (International Meteor Organization) reports. At an estimated diameter of 2 meters and a mass of about 10 tons (although this is contingent on the assumed entry velocity of 14 km/s and the assumed density of 3000 kg m3). At that size and relatively slow velocity, it seems plausible that some meteorites survived, but again, this depends on the assumptions made. Any meteorites would have fallen to the south-east of the city of Wesel on the Rhine.

Of course, there many meteors falling all the time, but this one seems very well observed (165 observations accross multiple countries!) and also relatively large; furthermore, there are several films of the meteor captured from multiple angles – so it seems likely that in this particular case, if any meteorites are found, they will have a very well-defined orbit. We’ll see if anything interesting (in terms of meteorites, of course!) comes from this – until then, that meteor goes to the candidate list. /m4