CNEOS 2014-01-08

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CNEOS 2014-01-08
Date8 January 2014; 10 years ago (2014-01-08)
Time17:05:34 UT[1]
Locationnear Papua New Guinea
Coordinates1°18′S 147°36′E / 1.3°S 147.6°E / -1.3; 147.6[1]

CNEOS 2014-01-08, also known as Interstellar meteor 1 (IM1),[2][3][4] was a 0.45 m (1.5 ft) meteor that impacted Earth on 8 January 2014 near the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. It was claimed to be an interstellar object in a 2019 preprint by astronomers Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb,[2][5] and this was published in 2022.[6][7][8][9] Other astronomers doubt this,[10][11][12][13][14][15] and still other experts found Earth-related explanations for the purported meteorite impact instead.[16]

Discovery and putative confirmation[edit]

According to the researchers, the meteor originated from an unbound hyperbolic orbit with a confidence of 99.999%.[9] The interstellar candidate was found in data from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.[17] The estimated speed of the meteor, around 60 km/s (37 mi/s), was likely produced in the innermost cores[clarification needed] of another stellar system.[18] A 2019 study by Jorge I. Zuluaga published as a research note by the American Astronomical Society concluded that even if the direction were completely unknown, the probability that CNEOS 2014-01-08 was hyperbolic would still be 48%.[19]

Confirmation is stymied because information quantifying the accuracy of the U.S. government's data is not publicly available. In 2022, the United States Space Command divulged that data on the meteor's velocity is "sufficiently accurate to indicate an interstellar trajectory."[20][8]

Further related studies were reported on 1 September 2023.[21][22]

Search for fragments[edit]

The Galileo Project intends to recover fragments of CNEOS 2014-01-08 from the seafloor off the coast of Papua New Guinea[23]

Amir Siraj, one of the authors who reported the finding of the purported interstellar meteorite, noted, "We are currently investigating whether a mission to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Manus Island in the hopes of finding fragments of the 2014 meteor could be fruitful or even possible."[8][24] Later, in a preprint (as well as in interviews) they described the expedition plan by The Galileo Project to retrieve small fragments of the meteor which, according to Loeb, "appears to be rare both in composition and in speed" and is not ruled out to be "extraterrestrial equipment,"[25][26] using a magnetic sled on the seafloor of the impact region deployed using a long line winch.[27][28][29][30][31] Siraj noted that "The alternative way to study an interstellar object at close range is by launching a space mission to a future object passing through the Earth's neighborhood" which is thought to be much more expensive than the project's planned budget of $1.6 million.[30] In the study, the astronomers write:[29][31]

Interestingly, CNEOS 2014-01-08, with a ram pressure of 194 MPa at peak brightness, has the highest material strength of all 273 bolides. The second highest tensile strength is smaller by more than a factor of 2, namely 81 MPa for the 2017-12-15 13:14:37 bolide. The third highest tensile strength, 75 MPa, belongs to the 2017-03-09 04:16:37 bolide, which we identified as a possible interstellar meteor candidate (Siraj & Loeb 2019c). Of course, this result does not imply that the first interstellar meteor was artificially made by a technological civilization and not natural in origin (Loeb 2021). Iron meteorites make about a twentieth of all space rocks arriving on Earth.

In a September 2022 blog post Loeb announced The Galileo Project expedition to search for fragments has been fully funded.[32]

In November 2022, a paper was published, claiming the anomalous properties (including its high strength and strongly hyperbolic trajectory) of CNEOS-2014-01-08 are better described as measurement error rather than genuine parameters. If true, successful retrieval of any meteoroid fragments is highly unlikely.[10]

In July 2023, Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb reported finding metallic fragments that they believed to be from IM1 whose isotopic ratios indicated it was older than the solar system.[33][34] Other astronomers doubt the meteor was interstellar,[11][35] and other experts found more Earth-related explanations for the purported meteorite impact instead.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Fireball and Bolide Data". Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. Retrieved 9 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b Pultarova, Tereza (3 November 2022). "Confirmed! A 2014 meteor is Earth's 1st known interstellar visitor - Interstellar space rocks might be falling to Earth every 10 years". Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  3. ^ Siraj, Amir; Loeb, Avi (20 September 2022). "Interstellar Meteors are Outliers in Material Strength". The Astrophysical Journal. 941 (2): L28. arXiv:2209.09905v1. Bibcode:2022ApJ...941L..28S. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aca8a0. S2CID 252407502.
  4. ^ Loeb, Avi (23 September 2022). "The discovery of a second interstellar meteor". Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  5. ^ Siraj, Amir; Loeb, Abraham (4 June 2019). "Discovery of a Meteor of Interstellar Origin". arXiv:1904.07224 [astro-ph.EP].
  6. ^ Siraj, Amir; Loeb, Abraham (16 September 2019). "An Argument for a Kilometer-Scale Nucleus of C/2019 Q4". Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society. 3 (9): 132. arXiv:1909.07286. Bibcode:2019RNAAS...3..132S. doi:10.3847/2515-5172/ab44c5. S2CID 202577998.
  7. ^ Roulette, Joey (15 April 2022). "Military Memo Deepens Possible Interstellar Meteor Mystery - The U.S. Space Command seemed to confirm a claim that a meteor from outside the solar system had entered Earth's atmosphere, but other scientists and NASA are still not convinced. (+ Comment)". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b c Diaz, Jaclyn. "The first known interstellar meteor hit Earth in 2014, U.S. officials say". NPR. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  9. ^ a b U.S. Space Command [@us_spacecom] (7 April 2022). "I had the pleasure of signing a memo with @ussfspoc's Chief Scientist, Dr. Mozer, to confirm that a previously-detected interstellar object was indeed an interstellar object, a confirmation that assisted the broader astronomical community" (Tweet). Retrieved 31 August 2022 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ a b Vaubaillon, J. (October 2022). "Hyperbolic meteors: is CNEOS 2014-01-08 interstellar?". WGN, Journal of the International Meteor Organization. 50 (5): 140–143. arXiv:2211.02305. Bibcode:2022JIMO...50..140V.
  11. ^ a b Brown, Peter G.; Borovička, Jiří (August 2023). "On the Proposed Interstellar Origin of the USG 20140108 Fireball". The Astrophysical Journal. 953 (2): 167. arXiv:2306.14267. Bibcode:2023ApJ...953..167B. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ace421.
  12. ^ Gallardo, Patricio A. (October 2023). "Anthropogenic Coal Ash as a Contaminant in a Micro-meteoritic Underwater Search". Research Notes of the AAS. 7 (10): 220. Bibcode:2023RNAAS...7..220G. doi:10.3847/2515-5172/ad03f9.
  13. ^ Desch, Steve; Jackson, Alan (November 2023). "Critique of arXiv submission 2308.15623, "Discovery of Spherules of Likely Extrasolar Composition in the Pacific Ocean Site of the CNEOS 2014-01-08 (IM1) Bolide", by A. Loeb et al". arXiv:2311.07699 [astro-ph.EP].
  14. ^ Fernando, Benjamin; Mialle, Pierrick; et al. (March 2024). "Seismic and acoustic signals from the 2014 'Interstellar Meteor'". arXiv:2403.03966 [astro-ph.EP].
  15. ^ Desch, Steve (March 2024). "Be,La,U-rich spherules as microtektites of terrestrial laterites: What goes up must come down". arXiv:2403.05161 [astro-ph.EP].
  16. ^ a b Richtel, Matt (11 March 2024). "Surprise: An 'Extraterrestrial' Gadget Was Something More Familiar - In 2014 a fireball from outer space was posited to be an alien artifact. A recent study suggests otherwise". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 March 2024. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  17. ^ Katz, Brigit (17 April 2019). "An Interstellar Meteor May Have Collided With Earth in 2014". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  18. ^ Dorminey, Bruce. "Interstellar Meteor Likely Struck Earth In 2014, Say Astronomers". Forbes. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  19. ^ Zuluaga, Jorge I. (3 May 2019). "Speed Thresholds for Hyperbolic Meteors: The Case of the 2014 January 8 CNEOS Meteor". Research Notes of the AAS. 3 (5): 68. Bibcode:2019RNAAS...3...68Z. doi:10.3847/2515-5172/ab1de3. ISSN 2515-5172. S2CID 155478708.
  20. ^ Marples, Megan (13 April 2022). "US military confirms an interstellar meteor collided with Earth". CNN. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  21. ^ McRae, Mike (1 September 2023). "Material Found in Ocean Is Not From This Solar System, Study Claims". Archived from the original on 1 September 2023. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  22. ^ Loeb, Avi; et al. (29 August 2023). "Discovery of Spherules of Likely Extrasolar Composition in the Pacific Ocean Site of the CNEOS 2014-01-08 (IM1) Bolide". arXiv:2308.15623 [astro-ph.EP].
  23. ^ Loeb, Abraham (2023). "Overview of the Galileo Project". Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation. 12 (1). arXiv:2209.02479. Bibcode:2023JAI....1240003L. doi:10.1142/S2251171723400032. S2CID 252089170.
  24. ^ McNamee, Kai (31 August 2022). "An astronomer thinks alien tech could be on the ocean floor. Not everyone agrees". NPR. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  25. ^ Loeb, Avi (18 April 2022). "The First Interstellar Meteor Had a Larger Material Strength Than Iron Meteorites". Medium. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  26. ^ Fuschetti, Ray; Johnson, Malcolm; Strader, Aaron. "Harvard Professor Believes Alien Tech Could Have Crashed Into Pacific Ocean — And He Wants to Find It". NBC Boston. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  27. ^ Carter, Jamie (9 August 2022). "Astronomers plan to fish an interstellar meteorite out of the ocean using a massive magnet". Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Astronomers: Let's Fish a Meteorite From the Ocean ... With a Mattress-Sized Magnet". Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  29. ^ a b Johnston, Scott Alan (4 August 2022). "An Interstellar Meteor Struck the Earth in 2014, and now Scientists Want to Search for it at the Bottom of the Ocean". Universe Today. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  30. ^ a b Carter, Jamie (10 August 2022). "Astronomers plan to fish an interstellar meteorite out of the ocean using a massive magnet". Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  31. ^ a b Siraj, Amir; Loeb, Abraham; Gallaudet, Tim (5 August 2022). "An Ocean Expedition by the Galileo Project to Retrieve Fragments of the First Large Interstellar Meteor CNEOS 2014-01-08". arXiv:2208.00092 [astro-ph.EP].
  32. ^ Loeb, Avi (16 September 2022). "Message in an Interstellar Bottle". Medium. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  33. ^ Siraj, Amir (5 July 2023). "Have We Found Fragments of a Meteor from Another Star?". Scientific American. Retrieved 8 July 2023.
  34. ^ Loeb, Avi (5 July 2023). "I'm a Harvard Astronomer. I Think We Found Interstellar Material". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 7 July 2023. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
  35. ^ Miller, Katrina (24 July 2023). "Scientist's Deep Dive for Alien Life Leaves His Peers Dubious - Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist, says that material recovered from the seafloor could be from an extraterrestrial spacecraft. His peers are skeptical. + comment". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 24 July 2023. Retrieved 24 July 2023.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

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