An interstellar meteor may have slammed into Earth
If confirmed, a fireball that careened through our atmosphere in 2014 will be only the second known visitor from beyond our solar system.
Sometimes, a journey of a thousand light-years ends in flames. A few minutes after 3 a.m. on January 9, 2014, a fireball burned through the skies just off the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea; it was a meteor disintegrating in Earth’s atmosphere, as so many meteors do.
But according to new research, this early morning visitor wasn’t just any old space rock going out with a bang. It was an interstellar interloper, a visitor launched into the cosmos from deep within another star system.
If confirmed, the meteor will be only the second such object ever spotted by humans. The first, a bizarrely shaped space rock now called ’Oumuamua, whizzed through our solar system in 2017 and is