First known interstellar meteor struck Earth in 2014, US confirms

US researchers confirmed Wednesday that a meteor that hit Earth in 2014 was interstellar (Picture: Getty Images)

US researchers confirmed on Wednesday that a meteor that hit Earth in January 2014 came from another solar system, making it the first interstellar meteor to ever hit Earth.

The meteor, known as CNEOS 2014-01-08, crash landed along the coast of Papua New Guinea on January 8, 2014.

In the newly released report, US Space Command officials confirmed the meteor was an interstellar object — something researchers at Harvard believed to be true since 2019, when Amir Siraj, an undergraduate student, and his professor Avi Loeb published a study on the topic.

Three years after their findings, Space Force officials reviewed their data and confirmed their results were correct.

Lt Gen John Shaw of the Space Force confirmed the research done at Harvard University this week

Officials reviewed additional data in conjunction to Siraj and Loeb’s finding and ‘confirmed that the velocity estimate reported to NASA is sufficiently accurate to indicate an interstellar trajectory,’ Lt Gen John Shaw wrote in the document.

The Space Force confirmed that the discovery made by Siraj and Loeb was the first interstellar meteor to hit Earth, and not , which was discovered in 2017.

Siraj wrote about his findings in a  that was published on Tuesday.

‘The CNEOS entry for the 2014 Manus Island fireball indicated the meteor hit the Earth’s atmosphere at about 45 kilometers per second — very promising,’ Siraj wrote.

CNEOS 2014-01-08 was the first interstellar meteor to hit Earth, that we know of, but we knew of two others that came after it beforehand (Picture: Getty Images)

‘However, some of this speed came from the object’s motion relative to the Earth and the Earth’s motion around the sun. Teasing apart these effects with the help of computer programs that I wrote, I found that the object had overtaken the Earth from behind before striking our atmosphere, and likely had a sun-relative speed closer to 60 kilometers per second.’

Siraj and Loeb ran into trouble while trying to get their research published because their data was from a NASA database that does not reveal some information, including how accurate readings are.

This changed several weeks ago when they were able to get confirmation of their research from Shaw.

While this meteor, CNEOS 2014-01-08, was the first interstellar meteor to hit the Earth, that we know of, two others that hit Earth afterward were discovered first. The interstellar meteor Oumuamua was discovered in 2017 and Borisov was discovered in 2018.

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