Whereas many — together with the 2 Harvard astronomers — have interpreted House Command’s assertion to NASA as affirmation that the meteor is interstellar, some astronomers imagine extra information is required to again up the declare. The accessible measurements, they are saying, lack error bars that point out how exact or unsure they had been.
“The sentence isn’t sufficient. Scientific outcomes are revealed, they don’t seem to be secret,” mentioned Maria Hajdukova, a researcher on the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Slovakia who research meteors and examined the House Command corroboration. “I’m not saying I don’t imagine it, but when I don’t have information I can not declare it,” she added.
NASA mentioned in a public assertion this month that “the quick period of collected information, lower than 5 seconds, makes it tough to definitively decide if the thing’s origin was certainly interstellar.”
“Fairly frankly, we are able to’t affirm that it’s interstellar,” NASA’s planetary protection officer, Lindley Johnson, mentioned in an interview. “Though it’s of excessive velocity, a velocity that might be probably interstellar, it’s subsequent to unimaginable to substantiate that it’s interstellar with out accompanying information — from an extended information span or information from different sources, which doesn’t exist on this case.”
Dr. Loeb and Mr. Siraj disagreed. “5 seconds is loads of time,” Dr. Loeb mentioned. “It’s not the period that issues, it’s the standard of the info that was assembled that issues. Throughout 5 seconds you are able to do lots, by way of instrumentation and measurement.”
He and Mr. Siraj plan to resubmit their paper to The Astrophysical Journal Letters. And the info in regards to the 2014 meteor now coming from the army company could assist their argument, mentioned Peter Veres, an astronomer on the Worldwide Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Middle, which tracks objects within the photo voltaic system.
That information reveals an uncommon sequence of three explosions of sunshine as the thing was barreling by means of Earth’s environment. “It appears to be like bizarre, I can let you know that,” Dr. Veres mentioned, noting that the brightness of meteors throughout their plunge sometimes peaks solely as soon as.