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2023 CX1
Sar2667 as it entered Earth's atmosphere over the north of France.jpg
Photograph of 2023 CX1 as it entered Earth's atmosphere over northern France on 13 February 2023
Discovery [1] [2]
Discovered by Krisztián Sárneczky
Discovery site Piszkéstető Stn.
Discovery date12 February 2023
2023 CX1
NEO · Apollo
Orbital characteristics [5]
Epoch 1 January 2023 ( JD 2459945.5)
Uncertainty parameter 5 [3]
Observation arc6.57 hours (0.27 d) [1]
Aphelion2.337 AU
Perihelion0.921 AU
1.629 AU
2.08 yr (760 days)
325.105 °
0° 28m 25.982s / day
13 February 2021 [4]
Earth  MOID0.000111  AU (16,600  km; 0.043  LD)
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
1 m [6] [7]
Mass1000 kg [8]
≈ 13 (peak) [1]
32.645±0.512 [3]
32.76 [1]

2023 CX1, initially known under temporary designation Sar2667, was a metre-sized asteroid or meteoroid that entered Earth's atmosphere on 13 February 2023 02:59 UTC and disintegrated as a meteor over the coast of Normandy, France along the English Channel. [6] It was discovered less than seven hours before impact, by Hungarian astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky at Konkoly Observatory's Piszkéstető Station in the Mátra Mountains, Hungary. [2] [9] 2023 CX1 is the seventh asteroid discovered before impacting Earth and successfully predicted, and the third of those for which meteorites have been recovered. Before it impacted, 2023 CX1 was a near-Earth asteroid on an Earth-crossing Apollo-type orbit. [1]


During a routine search for near-Earth objects with his 0.6-metre (60 cm; 2 ft; 24 in) Schmidt telescope, [10] Krisztián Sárneczky first imaged 2023 CX1 on 12 February 2023 at 20:18:07 UTC, when it was already less than 233,000 km (145,000 mi) from Earth and inside the orbit of the Moon at 0.61 lunar distances. [2] [11] At discovery, the asteroid had an apparent magnitude of 19.4 and moved quickly in the northern hemisphere sky, at an angular rate of 14 arcseconds per minute and a radial velocity of 9 km/s (5.6 mi/s) towards Earth. [11] Sárneczky immediately recognized it was a near-Earth object, but only realized it was on course for impact with Earth when he reobserved it half an hour later. [9] Sárneczky gave the object the temporary designation Sar2667 and reported the discovery to the Minor Planet Center's (MPC's) Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page at 20:49 UTC, calling for further follow-up from other observatories around the world. [12] Astronomers at Višnjan Observatory in Tičan, Croatia observed the asteroid starting at 21:03 UTC and confirmed that it was headed for impact with Earth. [2] [13]

The European Space Agency took notice of the asteroid's impending impact and alerted the public through social media. [10] Astronomers around the world continuously observed the asteroid to refine its trajectory as it approached Earth and its impact location. [12] [11] The asteroid reached a peak brightness of magnitude 13 (about the brightness of Pluto) right before it entered Earth's shadow at around 02:50 UTC. It then faded dramatically and became invisible until impact. [1] [12] The asteroid was last observed on 13 February 2023 02:52:07 UTC by the SATINO Remote Observatory in Haute Provence, France, just two minutes after it entered Earth's shadow and seven minutes before it impacted. [1] [11] At the time of that last observation, the asteroid had faded from magnitude 13 to 16 and moved extremely quickly at an angular rate of 1.7 degrees per minute, at a distance of approximately 11,100 km (6,900 mi) from Earth's center (4,700 km or 2,900 mi altitude [a]). [14]

On 13 February 2023 04:13 UTC (one hour after the impact), the object received from the MPC the official minor planet provisional designation 2023 CX1. At least 20 observatories observed 2023 CX1 and submitted astrometry to the MPC before impact, with over 300 astrometric positions recorded in total. [2] [1]


Flight path of 2023 CX1 plotted on a map, starting from the English Channel and ending at the coast of Normandy, France to the east.

At 02:59:21 UTC (local time 03:59:21 a.m. CET), 2023 CX1 entered the atmosphere at a velocity of 14.5 km/s (9.0 mi/s) with an inclination 40–50° relative to the vertical. [13] [15] As the meteoroid travelled eastward over the English Channel to the coast of Normandy, France, it experienced significant atmospheric drag and began burning up as a bright meteor at an altitude of 89 km (55 mi). [13] [8] The meteor was seen by witnesses from France, Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. [10] [16] The meteor began fragmenting at an altitude of 29 km (18 mi) and then completely broke apart at 28 km (17 mi), producing a bright flash due to the rapid vaporization of its fragments. [8] In the process, the meteor released a great amount of kinetic energy. That produced a shock wave, which was heard by some witnesses and was detected by French seismographs. [15] The meteor disappeared at an altitude of 20 km (12 mi), after which its resulting meteorites continued falling in dark flight. [8] Over 80 witness reports of the meteor were submitted to the International Meteor Organization (IMO). [16]

Upon breakup, 2023 CX1 dropped meteorites over the Normandy region and produced a strewn field spanning from Dieppe to Doudeville. [15] Guided by Peter Jenniskens, researchers and citizen scientists of the Fireball Recovery and Interplanetary Observation Network ( FRIPON [ fr]) immediately began a coordinated search effort in the expected meteorite fall area. [17] On 15 February 2023 15:47 UTC (local time 4:47 p.m. CET), FRIPON member and art student Loïs Leblanc found the first meteorite of 2023 CX1 in a field located in the commune of Saint-Pierre-le-Viger. [17] The meteorite weighed about 95 g (3.4 oz) [18] and is described as a "dark stone." [17] [19] By March 2023, over 20 additional meteorites were recovered, with masses ranging 2 to 350 g (0.1 to 12.3 oz). [18] The IMO estimates that 2023 CX1 could have dropped only one large meteorite up to ~2 kg (4 lb) in mass, plus an uncertain number of smaller meteorites up to several tens of grams each. [6] [8] The largest meteorite is expected to have landed near the commune of Vénestanville. [8]

2023 CX1 is the seventh asteroid discovered before being successfully predicted to impact Earth, and also the third whose meteorites were collected after its predicted impact. [6] [17] It is Sárneczky's second discovery of an impacting asteroid, after 2022 EB5 which he discovered a year prior in March 2022. [10]


Prior to impact, 2023 CX1 was on an Apollo-type orbit that crossed the orbits of Earth and Mars. [5] It orbited the Sun at an average distance of 1.63 astronomical units (244×10^6 km; 152×10^6 mi), varying from 0.92 AU at perihelion to 2.34 AU at aphelion due to its eccentric orbit. [5] The orbit had a low inclination of 3.4° with respect to the ecliptic and an orbital period of 2.08 years. The asteroid last passed perihelion on 13 February 2021 and impacted Earth before it was set to make its next perihelion on 15 March 2023. [4] [5]

The last time 2023 CX1 made a close approach to Earth was around 7 (± 1) June 2000, when it passed around 150–161  LD (58–62 million km; 36–38 million mi) from the planet. [3] Before that, 2023 CX1 had made several distant close approaches with Earth and Mars during the 1900s, though it probably never approached within 10 LD (3.8 million km; 2.4 million mi) from these planets. [3]

See also


  1. ^ Altitude is the difference between the geocentric distance and Earth's radius of 6,371 km (3,959 mi).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "2023 CX1". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e "MPEC 2023-C103 : 2023 CX1". Minor Planet Electronic Circular. Minor Planet Center. 13 February 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2023 CX1)" (2023-02-13 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Perihelion @ 0.922 AU on 13 Feb 2021". JPL Horizons (Perihelion occurs when rdot flips from negative to positive). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "Horizons Batch showing epoch 2023-Jan-01". JPL Horizons. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d Whitt, Kelly Kizer (15 February 2023). "Small asteroid impacts Earth's atmosphere over France". EarthSky. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  7. ^ Antier, Karl (13 February 2023). "Imminent asteroid entry over the Channel on Feb.13, 02h59 UT". International Meteor Organization. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Borovička, Jiří; Spurný, Pavel (15 February 2023). "The atmospheric trajectory of 2023 CX1 and the possible meteorite strewn field". International Meteor Organization. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Pictures from space! Our image of the day". 13 February 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d Howell, Elizabeth (13 February 2023). "Falling asteroid sparks brilliant fireball over Europe just hours after discovery (video)". Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  11. ^ a b c d "Horizons Batch from 2023-Feb-12 20:18 and 2023-Feb-13 03:00". JPL Horizons. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  12. ^ a b c "Seventh shooting star ever spotted before strike". European Space Agency. 13 February 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  13. ^ a b c Antier, Karl (13 February 2023). "2023 CX1 : 7th predicted Earth impact!". International Meteor Organization. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  14. ^ "Horizons Batch on 2023-Feb-13 02:52:07". JPL Horizons. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  15. ^ a b c Steinhausser, Asma (14 February 2023). "Pluie de pierres en Normandie!" (in French). FRIPON/Vigie-Ciel. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  16. ^ a b "Fireball Events in 2023 → 937-2023". International Meteor Organization. 13 February 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  17. ^ a b c d Antier, Karl (15 February 2023). "Une météorite normande issue de 2023 CX1 retrouvée!" (in French). FRIPON/Vigie-Ciel. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  18. ^ a b Green, Daniel W. E. (6 March 2023). "CBET 5230 : 2023 CX_1". Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (5230). Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  19. ^ Dickinson, David (17 February 2023). "Small Asteroid Spotted Hours Before Demise". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved 19 February 2023.

External links