BERLIN, Germany – Researchers at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany, have made a groundbreaking discovery about a rare type of meteorite that fell near the village of Ribbeck. The asteroid, known as 2024 BX1, brought these unique meteorites to Earth on January 21, 2024.
After the initial examinations, the museum’s collaborators officially classified these meteorites as belonging to the rare group called “aubrites.” This aligns with what many had suspected due to the unique appearance of the meteorites.
According to Dr. Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer at the SETI Institute, these meteorites were particularly difficult to find because they resemble other rocks typically found on Earth. However, after close inspection, they were able to identify and classify them as aubrites.
The search for these meteorites involved a team of researchers and students from various institutions in Germany. Even with the help of meteor astronomers, Drs. Pavel Spurný, Jiří Borovička, and Lukáš Shrbený, and a trajectory prediction based on the light emitted by the fireball, the initial detection of the meteorites was challenging.
The meteorites, which are fragments of the asteroid 2024 BX1, were first spotted with a telescope at Konkoly Observatory in Hungary. Following the impact, analysis of these meteorites confirmed their mineralogy and chemical composition, establishing their classification as achondrites of the aubrite type.
Dr. Ansgar Greshake, the scientific head of the museum’s meteorite collection, emphasized the importance of collections for research, particularly rare meteorite types like aubrites, of which there is limited material in meteorite collections worldwide.
It is worth noting that aubrites do not resemble the typical image of meteorites. Their appearance is more similar to a gray granite, mainly composed of magnesium silicates enstatite and forsterite, with minimal iron content, making them difficult to detect in the field.
Overall, the discovery of these aubrite meteorites from asteroid 2024 BX1 provides valuable insights into the study of meteorites and their composition, contributing to the broader understanding of extraterrestrial material.