The discovery and subsequent impact of the 2024 BX1 Asteroid in Germany were a testament to the collaboration between amateur and professional astronomers, as well as the advanced prediction capabilities of NASA’s Scout hazard assessment impact system.
2024 BX1 Asteroid Tracked from Faint Blip to Fiery Descent
The asteroid, measuring about 3.3 feet in size, was first observed by Krisztián Sárneczky at Konkoly Observatory’s Piszkéstető Mountain Station in Hungary. Despite being initially detected as just a faint blip in the constellation Lynx, its trajectory was swiftly calculated, thanks to observations reported to the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center and the Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page (NEOCP).
Upon realizing the potential impact, urgent calls were made for follow-up observations from European astronomers, primarily amateurs, who redirected their telescopes to track the asteroid’s path. Just 70 minutes after its discovery, NASA’s Scout system predicted an impact location about 60 kilometers west of Berlin with 100% probability.
This critical information was disseminated through social media channels, allowing witnesses to observe the asteroid’s fiery descent into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Recovered Fragments Hint at Aubrites from 2024 BX1 Asteroid
Despite initial skepticism due to the absence of a typical fusion crust, meteorite fragments from the 2024 BX1 Asteroid were successfully recovered by Polish meteorite hunters near the predicted fall site west of Berlin. These fragments, displaying a light-gray fusion crust and intriguing features like brecciated texture and large white crystals, hint at the possibility of them being achondrites known as aubrites.
The discovery of the 2024 BX1 Asteroid marked Krisztián Sárneczky’s third pre-impact asteroid discovery and highlighted the effectiveness of coordinated efforts in identifying and tracking potential impactors. The event underscored the importance of early detection and mitigation strategies for both small and potentially hazardous asteroids, showcasing the value of collaboration between astronomers and advanced prediction systems like NASA’s Scout.