Our latest research focuses on the analysis of an unusual grazing meteor, FH1, detected by the Finnish Fireball Network in October 2022. The meteoroid, with cm-sized dimensions, exhibited an inbound hyperbolic orbit and asteroidal consistency. Our findings suggest that FH1 is more likely a perturbed Oort cloud object than an interstellar interloper, given its orbital plane’s alignment with the ecliptic and proximity to the parabolic velocity limit.

The observation of interstellar objects 1I/’Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov suggests the existence of a larger population of smaller projectiles that impact our planet with unbound orbits. We analyze an asteroidal grazing meteor (FH1) recorded by the Finnish Fireball Network on October 23, 2022. FH1 displayed a likely hyperbolic orbit lying on the ecliptic plane with an estimated velocity excess of 0.7 km s−1 at impact. FH1 may either be an interstellar object, indicating a high-strength bias in this population, or an Oort cloud object, which would reinforce migration-based solar system models. Furthermore, under the calculated uncertainties, FH1 could potentially be associated with the passage of Scholz’s binary star system. Statistical evaluation of uncertainties in the CNEOS database and study of its hyperbolic fireballs reveals an anisotropic geocentric radiant distribution and low orbital inclinations, challenging the assumption of a randomly incoming interstellar population. Orbital integrations suggest that the event on March 9, 2017 (IM2) from CNEOS may have experienced gravitational perturbation during the Scholz fly-by, contingent upon velocity overestimation within the expected range. These findings suggest that apparent interstellar meteors may, in fact, be the result of accelerated meteoroid impacts caused by close encounters with massive objects within or passing through our solar system.

This work has been published in Icarus.

Link to the paper as open access in Icarus: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103523004232?via%3Dihub

Link to the paper as green open access: https://arxiv.org/abs/2310.12673