Courtesy ARTiFactor The fireball of a meteor blazing across the sky last Wednesday night was so spectacular that when my wife saw it, she pulled off the road. She was driving west on Ramsey Blvd. approaching highway 10 and said "it was the same as the green in the traffic light."
Our Buzz blogger, "mdr", wrote about this event, Light show over Iowa.
When the meteor exploded, it unleashed as much energy as the detonation of 20 tons of TNT, NASA scientists said. Their analysis found that the parent meteor was about 3.3 feet (1 meter) wide before it blew apart. Space.com
If you want to look for pieces of this meteorite, don't go to Iowa, join the rush around the Livingston area in Wisconsin, between Platteville and Avoca.
Most meteors burn up before reaching Earth, though. This one did not break up till it was close to the surface. We know this because found fragments are burnt on one edge only. The meteorite is described as an "H type" stony meteorite, a fairly common variety. The stereotypic iron meteorite is more rare.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison Geology Museum has a useful webpage helping visitors determine a meteorite from a meteor-wrong (click on link to learn how).
UW-Madison meteorite experts Noriko Kita and Takayuki Ushikubo used a scanning electron microscope and X-ray spectrometer to begin to analyze the surface mineral composition of the rock. They identified the presence of magnesium, iron, and silica-containing compounds, including the common minerals olivine and pyroxene. They also found iron-nickel metal and iron sulfide, which are often seen in primitive meteorites.
We now have over 30 meteorites for trade at Collector's Corner at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Come get one before they are all gone.