The International Meteor Organization has received 18 reports of a -10 mag fireball that was seen over Italy at 19:58 UT on 15 March 2021. Our computer generated trajectory shows a very short path terminating approximately 25 km southwest of Avezzano, in central Italy.Roberto Gorelli has shared with us that researchers from the Prisma network believe that a meteorite from this fireball may have fallen in the area of Molise, in the town of Temennotte. This is 10 km south of our original terminal location.
The Prisma video network has cameras situated throughout Italy for the purpose of photographing bright meteors. This particular fireball was captured by only one Prisma camera located in Capua (Caserta, Campania).
Luckily two other cameras, belonging to local amateur networks, were successful in capturing this fireball, allowing a precise trajectory to be determined. The computed orbit (Figure 1) of this object showed that this object was a member of the main asteroid belt, lying between Mars and Jupiter. Other computations showed that this object had a mass of 2-3 kg and entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a velocity of 14.6 km/sec. The angle of decent was only 6 degrees from vertical, which explains the short trajectory computed by the IMO. The fireball became visible at an altitude of about 80 km and extinguished at an altitude of 19.8 km, when the speed was only 2.8 km/sec. The overall duration of the fireball phase was 5.3 seconds. The residual mass of the meteoroid was still about 1 kg, equivalent to a size of about 8 cm. At the particular time of this event, there was a strong Northwest wind of 100 km/h at an altitude of 10 km. This would have deviated the path significantly toward the town of Temennotte (Figure 2). Prisma researchers are now scouring the ground in Temennotte, hoping to find remnants of this object (Figure 3).
- Gorelli, Roberto, Personal Communication 10 April 2021
- Il notiziario online dell’Istituto nazionale di astrofisica, Forse e caduta una meteorite in Molise
- Prisma/Inaf website