The atmospheric impact trajectory of asteroid 2014 AA

D. Farnocchia, S. R. Chesley, P. G. Brown, P. W. Chodas

PDF (open access)

updated on 10 March:
Icarus, in Press, Accepted Manuscript

“Near-Earth asteroid 2014 AA entered the Earth’s atmosphere on 2014 January 2, only 21 hours after being discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey. In this paper we compute the trajectory of 2014 AA by combining the available optical astrometry, seven ground-based observations over 69 minutes, and the International Monitoring system detection of the atmospheric impact infrasonic airwaves in a least-squares orbit estimation filter. The combination of these two sources of observations results in a tremendous improvement in the orbit uncertainties. The impact time is 3:05 UT with a 1-sigma uncertainty of 6 min, while the impact location corresponds to a west longitude of 44.7 deg and a latitude of 13.1 deg with a 1-sigma uncertainty of 140 km. The minimum impact energy estimated from the infrasound data and the impact velocity result in an estimated minimum mass of 22.6 t. By propagating the trajectory of 2014 AA backwards we find that the only window for finding precovery observations is for the three days before its discovery.”