Atmospheric trajectory and heliocentric orbit of the Ejby meteorite fall in Denmark on February 6, 2016

P. Spurný, J. Borovička, G. Baumgarten, H. Haack, D. Heinlein, A.N. Sørensen

Planetary and Space Science
In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 1 December 2016


“A very bright bolide illuminated the sky over Denmark and neighboring countries on February 6th, 2016 at 21:07:18-23UT. It terminated by a multiple meteorite fall in the heavily populated area of the western outskirts of Copenhagen. Several meteorites classified as the H5/6 ordinary chondrites have been found shortly after the fall and total recovered mass reached almost 9 kg (Haack, 2016). Although this spectacular bolide has been reported by many casual witnesses, the instrumental records are very scarce, mainly due to bad weather over Denmark and neighboring countries. Despite it we were able to collect five instrumental records taken from different locations which were useful for the analysis of this event. We used three high resolution digital photographic images taken in Germany, one high resolution radiometric light curve taken by the northernmost Czech automated fireball observatory and one video record taken by a surveillance camera on the Danish west coast where a part of the fireball trajectory was recorded. It allowed us to reliably determine basic parameters defining the luminous trajectory of the bolide in the atmosphere and also heliocentric orbit of the initial meteoroid causing this spectacular meteorite fall. We found that this event was caused by a relatively fragile 50 cm meteoroid with initial mass about 250 kg. It entered the atmosphere with velocity of 14.5 km s-1 and quite steep entry angle of 62 degrees. Its luminous flight started at 85.5 km and after 76 km long trajectory it terminated at 18.3 km. The heliocentric orbit of this meteoroid was of Apollo type with low inclination of 1° and perihelion distance just inside the Earth’s orbit. It had a relatively large semimajor axis of 2.8 AU and aphelion distance 4.64 AU. It is the second largest aphelion distance among all meteorites with known orbits and the orbit had the same character as that of the Košice meteorite (H5 ordinary chondrite), which fell on February 28, 2010 (Borovička et al., 2013).”