Small asteroid dropped meteorites on France

EarthSky’s most popoular story of the past week was of the small asteroid that created a light show over France on February 12-13, 2023. Now we’ve learned the asteroid has left meteorites – or rocks from outer space – behind on the ground!

A lucky meteorite searcher was 18-year-old Loïs Leblanc, who was part of a French search team. He already found a piece of the asteroid. According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), the asteroid, first known as Sar2667 and now as 2023 CX1, mostly broke up in Earth’s atmosphere. But, IMO has calculated the range where the meteorites would have dropped. The strewn field would be centered on the towns of Angiens and Houdetot. IMO said:

Probably only one large piece, of a mass of about 3 kg, emerged and could have later landed as a ~2 kg meteorite. We guess that an uncertain number of small meteorites of masses up to several tens of grams, which originated in the disruption events, could land as well.

Read more and see maps at this IMO webpage.

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Small asteroid enters atmosphere over France

A small asteroid, what some are calling a meteoroid, struck Earth’s atmosphere on the night of February 12-13, 2023, over northern France. The little space rock was just one meter wide (about 3 feet wide).

In fact, this is just the 7th time that a meteor was discovered before impacting Earth’s atmosphere. Just a couple of months ago, astronomers discovered a meteor hours before it struck over Canada.

Small asteroid causes light show over France

Big accomplishment! Discovered before striking

Considering the small size of this little object moving through space, it’s amazing it could have been discovered before striking.

Krisztián Sárneczky of Hungary made the discovery of the object, just hours before its predicted impact. Therefore, it was given the designation Sar2667.

The last asteroid discovered just before striking Earth, 2022 WJ1, entered the air over Canada on November 19, 2022.

What’s more, this object – Sar2667 – struck Earth’s atmosphere at almost the 10-year anniversary of the Chelyabinsk explosion over Russia. That object struck on February 15, 2013, creating a shock wave that broke windows in several cities in Russia.

You can read more about Sar2667’s stats at NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies page.

Asteroid alerts before impact from Twitter

So astronomy folk on Twitter had a field day Sunday evening, with alerts of the asteroid’s arrival.

Bottom line: A small asteroid safely crashed into Earth’s atmosphere – putting on a light show for observers in northern France – around 3 UTC on February 13, 2023. And it left meteorites on the ground in the French countryside that people have started to find.

February 15, 2023

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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