Grapefruit-sized fireball from mysterious Oort cloud could rewrite solar system history

A dazzling fireball that ended its cosmic journey over central Alberta, Canada, could change astronomers’ understanding of how the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Captured by camera on February 22, 2021, the rocky, grapefruit-sized meteoroid is thought to originate from the Oort Cloud, a reservoir of celestial objects that surrounds the entire Solar System and separates it from interstellar space. Scientists have never directly observed rocky objects in the Oort Cloud and have long thought it contains only icy objects. But the rocky object that burned up over Canada challenges conventional theories about how the Oort cloud formed and the formation of the early solar system more generally, according to a study published Dec. 12 in the Journal natural astronomy (opens in new tab).

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