The Berlin meteorite turned out to be a rare object of igneous origin

The asteroid that disintegrated over Berlin in mid-January belongs to a rare type of meteorite of igneous origin. It is mainly composed of magnesium silicates, enstatite and forsterite, it also contains almost no iron and has a translucent glassy crust.

The asteroid fragments 2024 BX 1, which disintegrated over Berlin in mid-January, were classified as a rare type of meteorite: the obrit. This result was presented to the International Nomenclature Commission of the Meteoritic Society on February 2, 2024 for examination and confirmation.

These bodies contain almost no iron and may be the result of magmatic processes that took place on E-type asteroids, according to the SETI Institute website.

2024 BX 1 was an asteroid or meteoroid approximately one meter in diameter that was first detected with a telescope at the Konkoly Observatory in Hungary by astronomer Dr. Krisztián Sárneczky.

Tracked and photographed

It was then tracked and then predicted to impact Earth’s atmosphere by NASA’s Scout and ESA’s Meerkat Asteroid Guard impact risk assessment systems.

Davide Farnocchiafrom JPL/Caltech, provided frequent updates on the asteroid’s trajectory until finally, on the night of January 21, a bright fireball was seen and filmed as a meteorite.

This was the fourth guided recovery of Peter Jenniskensfrom SETI, of such a small asteroid impact, after the one that took place in 2008 in Sudan, the 2018 impact in Botswana and the 2023 impact in France.

The disintegration of the fireball was observed over Berlin; Subsequently, search teams discovered several small meteorites in the area of ​​the town of Ribbecknear the German capital.

First results

On February 2, 2024, a team from the Natural History Museum in Berlin, led by astronomer Peter Jenniskens, presented the results of an initial study of the mineralogical and chemical composition of one of the fragments of 2024 BX 1.

It turned out to be a representative of a rare subspecies of aubrite achondrite. Aubrites, like other achondrites, do not contain chondrules due to fusion processes in the parent bodies. This name comes from the town of Aubrés in France, where a similar meteorite fell on September 14, 1836. The museum has a fragment of it in the collection.

igneous origin

The fragment of 2024 BX 1 is mainly composed of almost iron-free and magnesium-rich pyroxene, and also contains nickel, iron, olivine and troilite.

Such objects are assumed to be of igneous origin. Their parent bodies may be E-type asteroids, such as members of the Nysa asteroid family or the asteroid Eger.

Unlike other meteorites that have a thin black glass crust due to atmospheric heat, these meteorites have a mostly translucent glass crust.

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