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Meteor Videotaped Plunging to Earth

Meteor Videotaped Plunging to Earth
Still frame of the meteor plummeting toward the ground. (Image credit: The University of Western Ontario)

Shootingstars are by nature fleeting, and it's rare one is videotaped while falling toEarth.

But on theevening of March 5 (at 10:59 p.m. EST, to be exact), the University of WesternOntario's network of all-sky cameras captured videoof a large fireball, said university researcher Peter Brown.

Severalpeople contacted the university to say they had seen thelight. Brown and post-doctoral associate Wayne Edwards hope to enlist thehelp of local residents in recovering one or more possible meteorites, whichwould probably weigh about a kilogram (2.2 pounds).

"Mostmeteoroids burn up by the time they hit an altitude of 60 or 70 kilometers [37or 43 miles] from Earth," said Edwards. "We tracked this one to analtitude of about 24 kilometers [15 miles] so we are pretty sure there are atleast one, and possibly many, meteorites that made it to the ground."

Edwardssays they can narrow the ground location where the meteorite, probably anobject from our solar system's main belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter,would have fallen to about 4.6 square miles (12 square kilometers) and havecreated amap that may assist in locating the meteorite.

?We wouldlove to find a recovered meteorite on this one, because we have the video andwe have the data and by putting that together with the meteorite, there is alot to be learned,? he said.

Most of thefallen material probably fell into nearby Lake Erie or Lake Huron, Edwards, but "some of the smaller fragments might have reachedthe shore."

There is nodirected search to find the fragments, but Edwards, who studies the lowfrequency sounds made by meteors moving through the atmosphere, thought it wasa good idea to put out the call to the public in case something turned up.

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