The Great Chinese Fireball of December 22, 2020OPEN ACCESS 

Albino Carbognani

manuscript submitted to EPJPlus

Update (9 March): manuscript v2 submitted to EPJPlus


Update (2 June 2021): The European Physical Journal Plus volume 136, Article number: 616 (2021)

“On December 22, 2020 at about 23h 23m 33s UTC a very bright fireball was seen in the sky of south-eastern China. The fireball lasted for several seconds and ended with an atmospheric explosion that was detected by US surveillance satellites. According to CNEOS’s data, the fireball moved with a mean speed of 13.6 km/s and exploded at an altitude of about 35.5 km (Lat. 31.9◦N; Long. 96.2◦E). Inthis paper we estimate the atmospheric trajectory, the heliocentric orbit and the strewn fields for different mass/section ratio of the fragments. The trajectory was about from north to south and with low inclination (5◦±2◦) with respect to the local surface. The explosion height appear consistent with a fragmented rockybody and the heliocentric orbit supports an asteroidal origin. The probable strewn field extend between twopoints with coordinates (+31.3◦N; 96.3◦E) and (+30.3◦N; 96.5◦E), for a total area of about 4000 km2. This large extension is a direct consequence of the low inclination of the trajectory. Given the unknown uncertainty of the CNEOS’s data, these results should be taken with caution.”