Incredibly rare meteor ‘fireball’ captured on camera

October 25th, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 25 (IANS) A network of cameras captured an incredibly rare video footage of a bright, slow, meteor fireball crashing to the earth at predawn, north of Ontario, weighing a few hundred grams.These cameras, operated by the physics and astronomy department of the University of Western Ontario’s (UWO) Meteor Group, captured these images in March this year.

Peter Brown associate professor and Phil McCausland, a postdoctoral researcher in planetary science of the university, are hoping to enlist the help of local residents in recovering one or more possible meteorites that may have crashed.

“This event was a relatively slow fireball that made it far into the earth’s atmosphere. Most meteoroids burn up by the time they hit an altitude of 60 or 70 kilometres from the ground,” explained McCausland, who is heading to the region next week to investigate, according to an UWO press release.

“This one was tracked by our all-sky camera network to have penetrated to an altitude of about 37 km and it slowed down considerably, so there is a possibility that at least one and possibly several small meteorites made it to the ground.”

By knowing the trajectory from the camera observations, the researchers can also track backwards to get the orbit of the object before it hit the earth.

“The meteorite was on a typical earth-crossing asteroid-type orbit, so we also expect that it is a stony-type meteorite,” said McCausland.

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