Meteors in the News ...

Scientists mine 'star scar' to unlock space secrets   PhysOrg - November 1, 2017
Since early September, the denizens of this normally hushed burg in central France have been serenaded by an industrial drill poking holes around town and pulling up cylinders of rock. That's because Rochechouart, population 3,800, and its medieval castle are built on top of an astrobleme - which literally means 'star scar' - is the name given to traces left by a major meteorite impact. This particular impact crater was made by a massive space rock that crash-landed more than 200 million years ago, and has intrigued scientists since its discovery in the 19th-century.

First big-picture look at meteorites from before giant space collision 466 million years ago   PhysOrg - January 23, 2017

Four hundred and sixty-six million years ago, there was a giant collision in outer space. Something hit an asteroid and broke it apart, sending chunks of rock falling to Earth as meteorites since before the time of the dinosaurs. But what kinds of meteorites were making their way to Earth before that collision? In a new study in Nature Astronomy, scientists have tackled that question by creating the first reconstruction of the distribution of meteorite types before the collision. They discovered that most of the meteorites we see today are, in the grand scheme of things, rare, while many meteorites that are rare today were common before the collision.

Mystery alien rock unearthed in Swedish quarry   The Guardian - June 15, 2016

A morsel of never-before-seen alien rock has been dug up in a limestone quarry in Sweden, where it had lain deeply buried for about 470m years, scientists said on Tuesday. The biscuit-sized remains are unlike any other meteorite found on Earth to date, and may shed light on the history and formation of our solar system.

'Fossil' meteorite was from asteroid smash-up   BBC - June 15, 2016
Scientists have identified a completely new type of meteorite. The 8cm space rock is said to be chemically distinct from any of the 50,000 other such objects held in collections. Called Osterplana 65, it was found in a limestone quarry in Thorsberg, Sweden, that produces floor tiles. Dating suggests the meteorite's parent body was involved in a huge collision in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter some 470 million years ago.

Double Whammy: 2 Meteors Hit Ancient Earth at the Same Time   Live Science - September 14, 2015

It's not altogether uncommon to hear about double rainbows, but what about a double meteor strike? It's a rare event, but researchers in Sweden recently found evidence that two meteors smacked into Earth at the same time, about 458 million years ago. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg uncovered two craters in the county of Jamtland in central Sweden. The meteors that formed the craters landed just a few miles from each other at the same moment, according to Erik Sturkell, a professor of geophysics and one of the scientists who is studying the newfound craters. When the meteors slammed into Earth, Jamtland was just a seafloor, about 1,600 feet (500 meters) below the surface of the water. One of the craters left by the meteors is huge, measuring 4.7 miles (7.5 kilometers) across. The other, smaller crater - which is only about 2,300 feet (700 m) across - is located just 10 miles (16 km) from its larger neighbor.

'Largest ever asteroid impact' found in Australia   BBC - March 24, 2015

The 400-kilometre (250-mile) wide area is buried deep in the earth's crust and consists of two separate impact scars. The team behind the discovery, from the Australian National University (ANU), said the asteroid broke into two before it hit, with each fragment more than 10km across. The impact is thought to have occurred at least 300 million years ago. The surface crater has long since disappeared from central Australia's Warburton Basin but geophysical modeling below the surface found evidence of two massive impacts.

Largest-ever meteorite crater found in Australian outback - March 23, 2015
Scientists have discovered two deep scars in the earth's crust in outback Australia that are believed to mark the remains of a meteorite crater with a 250-mile diameter - the largest ever found. The scars are each more than 120 miles in diameter and are believed to mark the spot where a meteorite split into two, moments before it slammed into earth. The impact is believed to have occurred more than 300 million years ago.

Asteroid impacts on Earth make structurally bizarre diamonds   PhysOrg - November 21, 2014

Scientists have argued for half a century about the existence of a form of diamond called lonsdaleite, which is associated with impacts by meteorites and asteroids. A group of scientists based mostly at Arizona State University now show that what has been called lonsdaleite is in fact a structurally disordered form of ordinary diamond.

Rare Mineral Discovered in Ancient Meteorite Impact Crater   Live Science - November 3, 2014
A rare mineral known from just three massive meteorite impacts has now turned up in a Wisconsin crater. Researchers discovered the mineral, called reidite, at the Rock Elm impact structure in western Wisconsin. Reidite is a dense form of zircon, one of the hardiest minerals on Earth. This is the oldest reidite ever found,, said Aaron Cavosie, a geochemist at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. The Rock Elm meteorite crater is 450 million to 470 million years old, he said.

'Biggest observed meteorite impact' hits Moon   BBC - February 24, 2014

Scientists say they have observed a record-breaking impact on the Moon. Spanish astronomers spotted a meteorite with a mass of about half a tonne crashing into the lunar surface last September. They say the collision would have generated a flash of light so bright that it would have been visible from Earth. "This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon," said Prof Jose Madiedo, of the University of Huelva in south-western Spain. The explosive strike was spotted by the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (Midas) of telescopes in southern Spain on 11 September at 20:07 GMT.

Rock from heavens is a scientists' delight   PhysOrg - February 12, 2014

A year ago on Saturday, inhabitants of the Russian city of Chelyabinsk looked skyward, some frozen in fear that a nuclear war had begun. Overhead, an asteroid exploded in a ball of fire, sending debris plummeting to Earth in brilliant streaks. The shockwave blew out windows, hurting about 1,600 people, and the burst of ultraviolet light was so strong that more than two dozen people suffered skin burns. Today, enshrined in Russia's folk memory as a big scare, the Chelyabinsk Meteorite, for space scientists, is a boon. They say it has yielded unprecedented insights into the makeup and orbit of asteroids and the risks that a rogue rock may pose to Earth. Only a few asteroids ever cross Earth's path. Fewer still survive the fiery contest of friction with the atmosphere. Those that do are likely to fall in the sea, which covers more than two-thirds of the planet, or in a remote area, such as desert, tundra or Antarctica.

Meteor Over Manhattan: East Coast Fireball Sets Internet Abuzz   Live Science - March 23, 2013
A bright meteor briefly out shined the lights of New York City Friday evening (March 22), according to reports by witnesses who used Twitter and the Internet to report sightings of the fireball streaking over a broad stretch of the U.S. East Coast.

2013 Russian meteor event   Wikipedia

On 15 February 2013, a bright meteor appeared in the skies over Russia. Traveling at 18km/sec (40,000 mph), it quickly became a brilliant fireball as it passed over the southern Ural region, exploding in an air burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast at about 15 to 25 km (10 to 15 mi) above the ground. Approximately 1,500 people were reported injured.

Chelyabinsk Meteor Flash   NASA - February 23, 2013

A meteoroid fell to Earth on February 15, streaking some 20 to 30 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia at 9:20am local time. Initially traveling at about 20 kilometers per second, its explosive deceleration after impact with the lower atmosphere created a flash brighter than the Sun. This picture of the brilliant bolide (and others of its persistent trail) was captured by photographer Marat Ametvaleev, surprised during his morning sunrise session creating panoramic images of the nearby frosty landscape. An estimated 500 kilotons of energy was released by the explosion of the 17 meter wide space rock with a mass of 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Actually expected to occur on average once every 100 years, the magnitude of the Chelyabinsk event is the largest known since the Tunguska Event in 1908.

4.5-Billion-Year-Old Antarctic Meteorite Yields New Mineral   Live Science - April 6, 2011
A meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1969 has just divulged a modern secret: a new mineral, now called Wassonite. The new mineral found in the 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite was tiny - less than one-hundredth as wide as a human hair. Still, that was enough to excite the researchers who announced the discovery Tuesday (April 5).

Meteorites 'could have carried nitrogen to Earth'   BBC - March 1, 2011
A meteorite found in Antarctica could lend weight to the argument that life on Earth might have been kick-started from space, scientists are claiming. Chemical analysis of the meteorite shows it to be rich in the gas ammonia. It contains the element nitrogen, found in the proteins and DNA that form the basis of life as we know it.

Life Ingredients Found in Superhot Meteorites - A First   National Geographic - December 20, 2010
New evidence that space rocks may have seeded life on Earth.

Arizonans Find Largest Meteorite Fragment From Spectacular Midwestern Fall   PhysOrg - May 5, 2010

Video taken by an Iowa sheriff's cruiser shows it clearly: A fireball believed to have been a large meteor streaked across the Midwestern sky, prompting hundreds of calls to the National Weather Service from stargazers in at least four states.

  "Major," Green Meteor Lights Midwest Night Sky   National Geographic - April 16, 2010
Igniting over Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri around 10:15 p.m., local time, the fireball briefly turned night to green-tinged day and unleashed a sonic boom heard for hundreds of miles around. Based on video of the fireball, astronomer Mark Hammergren thinks the meteoroid the space rock that causes the meteor, or fireball may have been up to six feet (1.8 meters) wide and weighed roughly a thousand pounds (453 kilograms) or more.

  Meteor shower caught on tape in Iowa   YouTube

Giant Meteorites Slammed Earth Around A.D. 500?   National Geographic - February 3, 2010

Pieces of a giant asteroid or comet that broke apart over Earth may have crashed off Australia about 1,500 years ago, says a scientist who has found evidence of the possible impact craters. Satellite measurements of the Gulf of Carpentaria (see map) revealed tiny changes in sea level that are signs of impact craters on the seabed below, according to new research by marine geophysicist Dallas Abbott.

Crystals in meteorite harder than diamonds   NBC - February 2, 2010
Researchers using a diamond paste to polish a slice of meteorite stumbled onto something remarkable: crystals in the rock that are harder than diamonds. A closer look with an array of instruments revealed two totally new kinds of naturally occurring carbon, which are harder than the diamonds formed inside the Earth.

Hole in the Earth   Live Science - August 10, 2009

A meteorite that rocked the Sahara desert over 300 million years ago left behind quite a scar that's been photographed before. New satellite images released by NASA this week provide a closer view of the Aorounga Impact Crater in north-central Chad, one of the best preserved impact structures in the world. The crater measures 10 miles (17 kilometers) across with a peak that is surrounded by a small sand-filled trough. This feature is surrounded by an even larger circular trough. Winds at the site blow from the northeast and sand dunes formed between the ridges are actively migrating to the southwest. Measuring 10 miles (17 kilometers) across,

Aurora Persei
NASA - August 2008

"Oddball" Scottish Rocks Formed By Meteorite National Geographic - April 1, 2008

Geologists have uncovered evidence of the biggest meteorite crater ever found in Britain and Ireland. The study findings solve a long-standing puzzle about a layer of rock that stretches for about 31 miles (50 kilometers) in northwest Scotland. The layer, 65 feet (20 meters) thick in places, is sandwiched between gigantic layers of red sandstone and siltstone, which form the so-called Torridonian sedimentary rocks. Some scientists have suggested that the layer hails from a volcano but there is no evidence of volcanic activity in the region

"Giant Fireball" Impact in September 2007 in Peru Upends Meteorite Theory National Geographic - March 11, 2008

A meteor slammed into the southern Peruvian town of Carangas on September 16, 2007, leaving a 50-foot-deep (15-meter-deep) crater, seen here two days after the impact. New investigations of the crash site reveal that the meteor stayed as one piece during its journey through Earth's atmosphere, challenging previous views that such objects break apart and scatter before hitting the ground, experts say.

Dark Halos/Craters Discovered on Mercury NASA - March 10, 2008

The surprises continue. Scientists studying the harvest of photos from the MESSENGER spacecraft's Jan. 14th flyby of Mercury have found several craters with strange dark halos and one crater with a spectacularly shiny bottom. "The halos are really exceptional," says MESSENGER science team member Clark Chapman of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "We've never seen anything like them on Mercury before and their formation is a mystery."

Mysterious Meteorites Stymie Scientists in Antarctica National Geographic - March 13, 2008

A pair of mysterious meteorites discovered in Antarctica is baffling scientists who are struggling to determine the origin of the space rocks. The meteorites, dubbed GRA 06128 and GRA 06129, were found in the Graves Nunataks region of Antarctica in 2006

Astronomers Capture Rare Video Of Meteor Falling To Earth; Hunt For Meteorite Science Daily - March 9, 2008
Astronomers have captured rare video of a meteor falling to Earth with one of a network of all-sky cameras in Southern Ontario. On March 5, 2008 cameras captured a video of a large fireball. Now the search is on for the landing site.

Giant Meteor Fireball Explodes Over Northwest U.S. National Geographic - February 21, 2008

A meteor zipped across the U.S. Pacific Northwest sky early Tuesday morning before exploding, possibly littering eastern Oregon with marble- to basketball-size space rocks, an expert says.

Meteor Crash in Peru Caused Mysterious Illness National Geographic - September 21, 2007
An object that struck the high plains of Peru on Saturday, causing a mysterious illness among local residents, was a rare kind of meteorite, scientists announced today. A team of Peruvian researchers confirmed the origins of the object, which crashed near Lake Titicaca, after taking samples to a lab in the capital city of Lima.

Meteorite yields life origin clue BBC - December 1, 2006

Hollow spheres found in a primordial meteorite could yield clues to the origin of life on Earth. Scientists say that "bubbles" like those in the Tagish Lake meteorite may have helped along chemical processes important for the emergence of life. The globules could also be older than our Solar System - their chemistry suggests they formed at about -260C, near "absolute zero". Analysis of the bubbles shows they arrived on Earth in the meteorite and are not terrestrial contaminants. These hollow spheres could have provided a protective envelope for the raw organic molecules needed for life. The globules in Tagish Lake were in no way equivalent to a cell. The hollow spheres seem to be empty, but they do have organic molecules on their surfaces.

Meteorite's Organic Matter Older Than the Sun, Study Says National Geographic - December 1, 2006

The ancient materials could offer a glimpse into the solar system's planet-building past and may even provide clues to how life on Earth first arose. Most of the meteorite's material is about the same age as our solar system about 4.5 billion years and was likely formed at the same time. But the microscopic organic globules that make up about one-tenth of one percent of the object appear to be far older.

Mystery of Arizona's Meteor Crater Solved - Crashed 49,000 year ago BBC - March 10, 2005
The iron mass that smashed into Arizona some 49,000 years ago to create Meteor Crater was just the crumbled remains of a far larger rock body. What is more, this shower of debris was moving much slower than researchers had previously thought.