Bolide nears Berlin: newly discovered asteroid dazzles observers with stunning fireball

In less than a year after the predicted impact of asteroid 2023CX1 above Normandy, France, a newly discovered asteroid again impact over European territory. This time a 1-meter sized asteroid created a bright fireball in the skies close to Berlin, Germany.

Late night on 20 January 2024, meteor observers were alerted that on 21 January around 00h 32min UT, a newly discovered asteroid of roughly 1 meter diameter would enter the Earth’s atmosphere above North-Eastern Germany. The expected area was about 100 km West of Berlin, making the fireball potentially easy to spot for observers from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Denmark. The asteroid was first discovered by Krisztián Sárneczky (see his post on X, formerly Twitter).

The fireball observed by the FRIPON camera in Ketzür. Credits: FRIPON/ FRIPON-Germany

Captured by FRIPON camera

While allsky cameras in parts of Europe were clouded out, some fireball cameras in Germany were able to captured the event.  One of those was the FRIPON camera in Ketzür. “A first analysis showed that the event reached heavy saturation on the sensor, indicating that flares of the fireball reached magnitude -22. In reality to an observer the fireball flares  was brighter just a little less than the sun (mag -27)”, noted François Colas, the PI of the international FRIPON network. Meteorites are expected to have reached the ground after the bright fireball. The first field searches are currently underway in the predicted strewn field area.

The lightcurve of the fireball observed by the FRIPON camera in Ketzür. Credits: FRIPON/FRIPON/Germany/François Colas