Apparent meteorite fall (carbonaceous chondrite, ~ 25 g) in the border area of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and South Jutland, Denmark on 12 September 2019 at ~14:49:48 CEST (~ 12:49:48 UTC )

Last update: 7 December 2019

The intact meteorite on 27 September 2019. Photo: Carsten Jonas

Photo: Carsten Jonas

Photo: Carsten Jonas

On 13 September a man from the Flensburg area (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany) who wants to remain anonymous contacted the DLR and the German Arbeitskreis Meteore e.V. (AKM) via their online fireball report forms and sent a photo of a meteorite. He claims he found the table tennis ball-sized meteorite weighing about 25 grams (~3.7 x ~3.5 cm) by accident in his garden on the day after the fall. The man does not want the exact fall location to be disclosed for the time being. Therefore the Kong-Arrildshoj-Park in the southwest of Flensburg is currently given as ‘location’. AKM members Carsten Jonas (53) and Laura Kranich (28) contacted and visited the man, took photos of the meteorite and convinced him to have the meteorite analysed. AKM’s Mike Hankey, Andreas Möller, Felix Bettonvil, Laura Kranich and Carsten Jonas as well as Jim Goodall calculated the luminous trajectory and potential strewn field with slightly different results. From mid-September AKM’s Laura Kranich, Carsten Jonas, Sirko Molau, Jörg Strunk and other AKM members searched the vast calculated strewn field but could not find any other meteorites. Dieter Heinlein initiated the necessary scientific analyses which included measuring short-lived radio isotopes to determine the meteorite’s terrestrial age and thus establish a connection to the bolide event of September 12. The density of the meteorite was reported to be about 2.0 g/cm³ which does most likely confirm that it is a rare type of carbonaceous chondrite. According to inofficial sources the short-lived radio isotope analysis has confirmed a likely connection to the bolide event above Schleswig-Holstein on 12 September 2019 (AMS event 4385-2019). According to a trajectory analysis by Jiří Borovička of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic the bolide had a rather high atmospheric entry speed of almost 24 km/h at a slope of 13 degrees to the horizontal. The luminous trail ended at a height of about 37 kilometres above the ground. Borovička suspects that “the fireball did not penetrated much deeper. There may be a meteorite or several meteorites on the ground, but only small ones, several tens of grams at most for the largest one.” The analysis data make the claimed meteorite find in German-Danish border area even more extraordinary if actually confirmed.

NASA-JPL’s CNEOS has released the following data of the bolide event:

Peak Brightness at 12:49:48 (UT) on 09-12-2019
Latitude (deg.): 54.5N
Longitude (deg.): 9.2E
Altitude: 42 km
Pre-impact velocity: 18,5 km/s
Vx -18,1
Vy:-0,4
Vz: 3,7
Total radiated energy (J): 16.9e10
Calculated total impact energy (kt): 0,48

Jim Goodall’s bulletin (version 4) can be downloaded here: PDF / KMZ.

At the IMC meeting in Bollmannsruhe on 6 October some information including a photo of the meteorite were made public during a presentation by AKM’s Sirko Molau.

The meteorite shows a very fresh black and brown fusion crust with contraction cracks. Some patches of the lithology, apparently covered with an ochre-coloured layer, probably acquired during the atmospheric trajectory after fragmentation, can be seen. Furthermore, there seem to be slight marks of a collision with another object or a hard surface. The meteorite is currently being classified by Addi Bischoff and his team at the University of Münster.

Photo: Carsten Jonas

The unusual ochre-coloured surface layer on the exposed interior of the meteorite. It is not representative of the actual lithology of the chondrite. Photo: Carsten Jonas

The bolide

The bolide was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and the UK. The AMS and IMO websites received more than 580 reports. Soon after the event some video recordings from the Netherlands and Germany appeared in social media. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Bremen of the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS) received several reports from ships on the North Sea and initially considered the bolide to be an emergency signal between the islands Langeoog und Spiekeroog. They sent the two inshore lifeboats Neuharlingersiel and Secretarius into the area.

Video recordings of the daylight bolide

32-year old kiteboarder Dorian Cieloch from Bremerhaven recorded the bolide by accident from the mouth of the Weser river north of Bremerhaven, near Wremen, close to location 53°38’22.57″N, 8°29’30.81″E . This is about 106 kilometres (on the ground) south-southwest of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. The bolide can be seen on the right of the frame above the hotel Deichgraf between 1:12 and 1:14 minutes of running time. Cieloch did not hear any detonation sound and did not notice the bolide while filming and editing the video. It wasn’t until the author of the first comment on his uploaded video made him aware of the ‘meteor’ in his recording that Cieloch became aware of the bolide he had captured by accident. Cieloch was interviewed in an NDR TV news report on the day after the fall.

“Hat sich trotzdem gelohnt herzukommen.” (D. Cieloch)

[Coming here has paid off nevertheless.]

The daytime bolide can be seen in the top right corner of the frame above the hotel Deichgraf (1:13 – 1:15 minutes). Video: Dorian Cieloch

Jonny Mählmann and three other members of the ‘Strandwache’ (lifeguard service) Wangerooge of the NGO Wasserwacht of the Landesverband Oldenburg E.V. of the German Red Cross (DRK) accidently captured the bolide with a GoPro cam held by someone at the rear of their boat during a training trip off the shore of the island Wangerooge. This is estimated to be about 114 kilometres (on the ground) southwest of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. The bolide can be seen in the top left corner of the frame between 0:09 and 0:11 minutes of running time. Video: Jonny Mählmann

Video by Holger Scheele from location 54°39’34.4″N, 13°19’56.4″E near Schwarbe, Rügen, Germany. This is about 269 kilometres (on the ground) east of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. The bolide can be seen above the road in the centre of the frame between 0:02 and 0:04 minutes of running time. Video: Holger Scheele

Dashcam recording by Christian Hirsch, taken from location 52°18’52.1″N, 9°48’51.6″E , Hannover-Laatzen Expo Park. This is about 246.84 kilometres (on the ground) south of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. The bolide can be seen above the trees and the 70-km speed limit traffic sign on the right side of the road between ~0:06 and ~0:08 minutes of running time. Video: Christian Hirsch

A security cam recording of shipyard Mertrade from location 52°42’24.9″N 5°52’07.2″E in Marknesse in the Netherlands. This is about 296 kilometres (on the ground) southwest of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. Video: Omroep Flevoland

The bolide (close-up) in a video from a NV Westerscheldetunnel camera released by its employee Marchal van Lare, recorded from the N62 at location 51.456°, 3.743° near ‘s-Heerenhoek and Vlissingen-Oost, Netherlands. This is about 498 kilometres (on the ground) southwest of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. Video: Marchal van Lare

A video by Jörg Strunk recorded with his AllSky6 (AMS21) from Herford. This is about 266 kilometres (on the ground) south of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. Video: Jörg Strunk

Other video recordings by Gerard Kemna and Pascal van Lammeren from the Netherlands. Video: nu.nl

An early published dashcam video by Leon Pepping recorded from Bouwmeesterweg at location 52°24’00.6″N, 5°15’39.5″E in Almere Buiten in the Netherlands. This is about 350 kilometres (on the ground) southwest of the location of the bolide’s peak brightness as calculated by CNEOS. Video: Leon Pepping / Omroep Flevoland

Media coverage

Television

Hallo Niedersachsen
NDR TV (13 September 2019, 7.30 p.m.)

Newspapers

Flensburger Tageblatt (30 November 2019)
Kieler Nachrichten (7 December 2019)