Fireball over Cavan!!
Thursday, 4 February 2010
David Moore - Astronomy Ireland
Tell us about this meteorite?
Last night at about 6pm people all over the country spotted a burning bright light in the sky, some people thought it was the engine of the plane, a helicopter crashing even fireworks. We started to get reports minutes after. It was like a major explosion that appears to have lit up the whole country.
What does it look like?
It is like a fire ball in the sky. What you have then that landed is generally like a rock, but it is worth a lot more than a rock. A piece of meteorite is very valuable it is worth about €360 a gram. It really is a financial windfall from space once of course it does not land on you.
How big was it?
The object could have possible been the size of a desk and it hit the atmosphere at 100,000 miles per hour before exploding with the power of a small nuclear device. By the time it reached the ground it could be a small dark rock about the size of your fist.
Where do you think it might have landed?
According to a lot of eye witness reports we believe it could be in Co. Cavan. We have to look over all the reports and there are hundreds of them and then we draw up a map at the moment we are looking at an area of about 10,000 square miles but over the weekend we hope to have 10 mile area. Then we will let people know through our web site where we think it maybe and then it's a free for all.
If someone finds it what should the do? Is it dangerous to touch?
No not dangerous to touch not hot. Handle it delicately, put in a clean container. Dr Ian sanders in Trinity college who is a meteorite expert will run some scientific test on it and give you a document stating that it is in fact a meteorite. All he asks in return is a small chip so he can write some papers etc about it.
How can people get in touch to tell you what they saw?
Go to www.astronomy.ie and fill out the fireball report.
How common is it to see something like this?
Fireballs are quite rare and the brighter they are the rarer it is to see them. If the fireball was brighter than the Full Moon then it is well worth looking for a meteorite (the part that survives the fall to Earth). Only 2 were found on this island in the 20th century: 1969 across Northern Ireland and 1999 in County Carlow.
Additional / Misc' Info:
If anyone saw anything you can fill out a report at www.astronomy.ie