Astrophysics and Space Science

, 361:358 | Cite as

Homing in for New Year: impact parameters and pre-impact orbital evolution of meteoroid 2014 AA

  • C. de la Fuente MarcosEmail author
  • R. de la Fuente Marcos
  • P. Mialle
Original Article


On 2008 October 7, small asteroid \(2008~\mbox{TC}_{3}\) turned itself into the parent body of the first meteor ever to be predicted before entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Over five years later, the 2014 AA event became the second instance of such an occurrence. The uncertainties associated with the pre-impact orbit of \(2008~\mbox{TC}_{3}\) are relatively small because thousands of observations were made during the hours preceding the actual meteor airburst. In sharp contrast, 2014 AA was only observed seven times before impact and consequently its trajectory is somewhat uncertain. Here, we present a recalculation of the impact parameters—location and timing—of this meteor based on infrasound recordings. The new values—\((\lambda_{\mathrm{impact}}, \phi_{\mathrm{impact}}, t_{\mathrm{impact}}) = (-44^{\circ }, +11^{\circ }, 2456659.618~\mbox{JD UTC})\)—and their uncertainties together with Monte Carlo and \(N\)-body techniques, are applied to obtain an independent determination of the pre-impact orbit of 2014 AA: \(a=1.1623~\mbox{AU}\), \(e=0.2116\), \(i=1.\hspace {-0.3em}^{\circ}4156\), \(\varOmega =101 .\hspace {-0.3em}^{\circ}6086\), and \(\omega=52.\hspace {-0.3em}^{\circ}3393\). Our orbital solution is used to investigate the possible presence of known near-Earth objects (NEOs) moving in similar orbits. Among the objects singled out by this search, the largest is \(2013~\mbox{HO}_{11}\) with an absolute magnitude of 23.0 (diameter 75–169 m) and a MOID of 0.006 AU. Prior to impact, 2014 AA was subjected to a web of overlapping secular resonances and it followed a path similar to those of \(2011~\mbox{GJ}_{3}\), \(2011~\mbox{JV}_{10}\), \(2012~\mbox{DJ}_{54}\), and \(2013~\mbox{NJ}_{4}\). NEOs in this transient group have their orbits controlled by close encounters with the Earth–Moon system at perihelion and Mars at aphelion, perhaps constituting a dynamical family. Extensive comparison with other studies is also presented.


Celestial mechanics Minor planets, asteroids: individual: 2014 AA Minor planets, asteroids: individual: \(2011~\mbox{GJ}_{3}\) Minor planets, asteroids: individual: \(2011~\mbox{JV}_{10}\) Minor planets, asteroids: individual: \(2012~\mbox{DJ}_{54}\) Minor planets, asteroids: individual: \(2013~\mbox{NJ}_{4}\) Planets and satellites: individual: Earth 



The authors thank the referee, T.J. Jopek, for his constructive, detailed and very helpful reports, S.J. Aarseth for providing one of the codes used in this research and for comments on early versions of this work, S. R. Chesley for providing his results on the pre-impact orbit of 2014 AA prior to publication, D. Farnocchia for his input on early versions of this work, J.D. Giorgini for providing the details of the orbit computed by the JPL, Bill Gray for sharing the early results of his impact calculations, and S.R. Proud for sharing the results of his analysis of some weather satellite imagery. This work was partially supported by the Spanish ‘Comunidad de Madrid’ under grant CAM S2009/ESP-1496. Some of the calculations discussed in this paper were completed on the ‘Servidor Central de Cálculo’ of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System, the ASTRO-PH e-print server, the MPC data server, and the NEODyS information service.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Apartado de Correos 3413MadridSpain
  2. 2.Provisional Technical SecretariatComprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty OrganisationViennaAustria

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