One winter night in 2017, many people saw a bright fireball in the night sky in southern Australia for a minute and a half. As the inevitable reaction of interstellar objects to friction with the Earth’s atmosphere, we have long seen it. But interestingly, the meteor did not fall to earth, but again flew into the icy deep sky.
2014 Infographic (from: NASA, via Cnet)
On July 7, 2017, the so-called “grazing meteor” was captured by Australia’s desert fireball network. At the time, it lit up a trail in the southwestern part of the country, skimming 808 miles (1,300 kilometers) above the atmosphere.
In a new paper submitted to the Astrophysical Journal, a team of researchers estimated that the fireball weighed about 132 pounds (60 kilograms) and was about 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter.
In fact, not all small meteors are ejected as they pass through the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which has a lot to do with the angle at which they approach (light).
As long as it’s fast enough and doesn’t get too low from the atmosphere, it can get rid of the gravity that pulls it to the surface and escape back into space again (as long as it’s not consumed by the atmosphere).
Such “grazing meteors” have rarely been seen for a long time. Even looking through the research records of the past few decades, there are only a few. The discovery, on July 7, 2017, ranked second.
In 1972, a truck-sized “grazing meteor” lit up for nearly 100 seconds in Canada and the northwest United States. However, subsequent studies have found that the original data analysis of the event was incorrect.
It took hundreds of thousands of years to orbit the solar system, get up close and personal with Jupiter, and eventually pop out of the solar system or throw it into Neptune’s transorbital orbit.