A grapefruit-sized fireball from the mysterious Oort Cloud could rewrite the history of the solar system

A dazzling ball of fire 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 on camera on February 22, 2021, the rocky, grapefruit-sized meteoroid is believed to come 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 believed that it contains only icy objects. But the rocky object that burned up over Canada challenges popular theories about the formation of the Oort Cloud and the formation of the early solar system in general, according to a study published December 12 in the journal. nature astronomy (opens in a new tab).

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