View Full Version : Sep.25th meteor lands in Grimsby after flaring into fireball upon entry
10-16-2009, 05:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfKjiKIIb1Q / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHUpgkj9M70
10-16-2009, 05:28 PM
Space rock smashes windshield (from: St. Catharines Standard)
Posted By MATTHEW VAN DONGEN , STANDARD STAFF
The Grimsby meteorite has been found.
But the space race is far from over, said Phil McCausland, an astrophysicist at the University of Western Ontario.
"Now it will get busy out here," McCausland predicted on Thursday, hours after searchers announced they had found a meteor fragment the size of a golf ball in Grimsby. "I would say now interest in meteor hunting is going to peak."
Scientists have scheduled a news conference today to show off the fragment of space rock, which hurtled into the windshield of a Grimsby family's sport utility vehicle on Sept. 25.
McCausland said heavy media coverage helped the as-yet unnamed family "connect the dots" between their mysteriously smashed windshield and the meteor that streaked across the skies of southern Ontario three weeks ago.
The fireball was first picked up by cameras operated by the University of Western Ontario's physics and astronomy department 100 kilometres above Guelph as it streaked southeastward at a speed of about 75,000 kilometres per hour.
Scientists released that footage Oct. 7 and began searching a 12-square-kilometre area near Grimsby where they thought the meteor fell.
Only about a dozen meteorite falls in history have been so well-documented from start to finish, McCausland said.
He wouldn't say exactly where the rare fragment landed. "But it ended up in the area where we thought it would end up, which is great," he said.
Now, the search is on for larger chunks of meteor debris that McCausland hopes are nearby.
"There is more to find, definitely," he said Thursday by phone from a field in Grimsby.
"I think kilogram-sized fragments are still in the cards," Mc- Causland said.
That's why scientists scour the area non-stop, even as academics back at the university study the newly found fragment on loan.
McCausland expects more help in the search now from scientists and other astro-enthusiasts -- but also competition from less academic-minded collectors.
"We think this is just the first find. We'll be out here until the snow starts sticking to the ground," he said.
McCausland said searchers would still welcome information from residents who witnessed the plummeting meteorite on Sept. 25.
10-16-2009, 05:30 PM
Astronomers believe meteorites landed near Grimsby
Posted By Peter Downs, Standard Staff
Space rocks formed when the solar system was created billions of years ago are believed to have fallen to Earth near Grimsby in a fiery light show two weeks ago.
Astronomers will be digging through farmers’ fields today and Friday on the hunt for hunks of a meteor that blazed across the skies of southern Ontario Sept. 25 shortly after 9 p.m.
The beachball-sized meteor was first picked up by cameras operated by the University of Western Ontario’s physics and astronomy department 100 kilometres above Guelph as the fireball streaked southeastward at a speed of about 75,000 kilometres per hour.
Astronomers at the university have traced the meteor’s path and believe chunks of it may have landed above the escarpment within a 10-kilometre radius of Grimsby.
“We’re pretty certain something came down,” said Phil McCausland, a postdoctoral fellow with the university’s astronomy department.
“It’s hard to put an X on the map and say, ‘There,’ because what happens is at the end of the fireball path the lights go out. There’s no camera record of that.”
It’s likely small pieces of the meteor — anywhere between the size of a golf ball or a fist — made it through the atmosphere and hit the ground, he said.
“It could be dozens, it could be one or two. It’s hard to say, but if it’s one or two, they will be on the largish size — probably more than a kilogram.”
Researchers are keen to find any of the meteorites because it’s extremely rare to have their fall to Earth documented so well with photo evidence.
Based on all of the information already known about the rocks, it’s possible for astronomers to determine which orbit they came from and learn more about the early history of the solar system.
“There’s only a handful, perhaps a dozen, meteorites that have this kind of orbital information,” McCausland said.
The rural area where the meteorites are believed to have landed is largely farmland with some forest.
McCausland has already spent several days over the past week searching for the rocks and interviewing landowners in the area.
He was expected to be back on the hunt again today with other researchers.
“Even though the (cameras) we have narrows it down quite nicely, it’s still a large area to search. We’re still talking about 12 to 16 kilometres,” he said.
Doug Welch, an astrophysicist at McMaster University, will be joining the search.
Welch monitors one of Western’s meteor-seeking sky cameras at the Hamilton university.
The fireball that torched across the sky two weeks ago practically went directly overhead of the Hamilton camera.
“It’s really spectacular.... I’ve seen them live, but it’s very rare for them to be this bright,” he said.
Recovering meteorites that may have fallen gives researchers a rare opportunity to learn more about the formation of the solar system, he said.
“These are free samples from elsewhere in the solar system delivered to your door. We have sample-return missions that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Meteorologist and Grimsby resident Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn spends much of her spare time photographing the stars and planets.
But the night the fireball streaked towards Grimsby, she didn’t have her camera trained on the sky. She was watching TV with her meteorologist husband in their home atop the escarpment.
“We saw a bright flash and thought, ‘How can it be a thunderstorm. There shouldn’t be any storms around.’ ”
A quick check online the following morning confirmed for Lecky Hepburn the bright light was a meteor.
“It would have been nice to see something other than just the bright flash,” she said.
Researchers are calling for anyone who has found pieces of meteorite to contact them, as well as people in the area who witnessed the fireball.
Meteorites are typically dark, smooth on the surface, heavier than rocks of a similar size and able to attract magnets because of the metals they contain.
Under Canadian law, meteorites become the property of whoever owns the property where they are recovered.
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