Stories tagged meteor


Meteor might: The vapor trail shows the path of a meteor that streaked across the Russian skies earlier this month.
Meteor might: The vapor trail shows the path of a meteor that streaked across the Russian skies earlier this month.Courtesy Nikita Plekhanov
What do you get when you cross cross-country skiing with trigonometry? You get answers to exactly what happened in Russia a couple weeks ago when a meteor flashed across the sky. Click here to see the earlier Buzz post about the event.

Using video footage gathered from various sources and knowing the landing point of the meteor, scientists in Columbia have been able to recreate its path to Earth, including the boom-a-rang effect it had in orbiting around the sun. A separate group of researcher have pinpointed that the meteor came from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

And closer to the scene of the impact, cross-country skiers have crisscrossed over the 31-mile-long debris field below the meteor's path, collecting more than 100 pieces of meteorite, the biggest being 2.2 pounds.

Some chunks are for sale for as much as $16,000. How much would you be willing to spend for a piece of space debris? How much would you be willing to spend now that you know it's probably 4.5 billion years old?


Meteorite: I traded out this meteorite at the Science Museum of Minnesota Collectors Corner. That is one inch on the ruler.
Meteorite: I traded out this meteorite at the Science Museum of Minnesota Collectors Corner. That is one inch on the ruler.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."

Meteor lands in Wisconsin

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.

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.

Similar meteors fall every day

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.

Telling a meteorite from a meteor wrong

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).

Learn more about meteorites

You can see photos of meteorite fragments here and here (U of Wisconsin analysis of meteorite).
Photos of more Wisconsin meteorite fragments and info are to be found in a blog by Astro Bob.

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.

Trade for meteorites @ Collector's Corner

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.

Look up

by Liza on Dec. 13th, 2007

Hey, don't forget: The Geminid meteor shower, which you should be able to see this entire week, peaks tonight. Go out sometime between 10pm and dawn tomorrow, and look up. Let us know if you see any. Or get any photos.


Noah's Ark: by Edward Hicks
Noah's Ark: by Edward Hicks


What happens when a giant meteor lands in the ocean? Not only would there be a big splash, but heat and energy equal to a multi-megaton bomb would melt rock, generate steam and wind, and create a mega-tsunami. The mega-tsunami would be at least 600 feet high. Such a wave would carry ocean sediments several miles inland creating formations called chevrons.

Google maps reveal new craters

Using google-maps scientists are finding many such chevrons. Two chevrons found over four miles inland near Carpentaria in north central Australia both pointed north into the ocean. Using surface altimetry data from satellites, two craters were found on the ocean bottom that contained melted rocks and magnetic spheres with fractures and textures characteristic of a cosmic impact.

“We found diatoms fused to tektites,” a glassy substance formed by meteors. The molten glass and shattered rocks could not be produced by anything other than an impact."

New evidence indicates meteor strike around time of Noah

Last August scientists collected samples from four huge chevrons in Madegascar.

Last month, Dee Breger, director of microscopy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, looked at the samples under a scanning electron microscope and found benthic foraminifera, tiny fossils from the ocean floor, sprinkled throughout. Her close-ups revealed splashes of iron, nickel and chrome fused to the fossils.
About 900 miles southeast from the Madagascar chevrons, in deep ocean, is Burckle crater, which Dr. Abbott discovered last year. Although its sediments have not been directly sampled, cores from the area contain high levels of nickel and magnetic components associated with impact ejecta.
Burckle crater has not been dated, but Dr. Abbott estimates that it is 4,500 to 5,000 years old.

Mythology dates flood to Solar eclipse in 2807 B.C.

An environmental archaeologist, Dr. Masse, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico analyzed 175 flood myths from around the world, and tried to relate them to known and accurately dated natural events like solar eclipses and volcanic eruptions. Fourteen flood myths specifically mention a full solar eclipse, which could have been the one that occurred in May 2807 B.C.
Half the myths talk of a torrential downpour. A third talks of a tsunami. Worldwide they describe hurricane force winds and darkness during the storm. All of these could come from a metior strike and mega-tsunami.

Source article from New York Times.


An impressive display of meteors will move across the sky on Friday, August 12, (2005) when the Perseid meteor shower becomes most visible. Peak viewing times will be from 2 a.m. until sunrise that morning, according to NASA experts. Because of interference from urban lights, viewing is best outside of the city. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every summer, when the tail behind Comet Swift-Tuttle intersects with Earth's orbit, causing comet dust to enter Earth's atmosphere. Meteors from the comet travel from the direction of the constellation Perseus, which gives the shower its name.