[meteorite-list] UK Public Invited to Hunt for Meteorites
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Aug 3 11:53:10 2004
Public invited to hunt meteorites
August 3, 2004
Anyone with an unexplained object that has fallen in their back garden
might want to check whether they have found a meteorite.
More than 30 are believed to fall in the United Kingdom each year - but
very few are ever identified.
And the Open University is now encouraging the public to become
A website will help people to discover whether any objects they find are
really from outer space.
The project is part of an Open University and BBC Two series, Stardate,
which will encourage people to look for meteorites - which fall at a
rate of more than one a fortnight, but mostly go unidentified.
It is claimed that there are thousands of meteorites across the UK
waiting to be found - with only 20 authenticated discoveries so far.
"These are rocks from space and are the oldest objects you can handle.
They tell us about the formation of the solar system and the stars that
lived and died before the solar system formed," says Richard Greenwood,
the Open University's meteorite curator.
"There are two approaches to finding a meteorite; you could either look
where other meteorites have been found, as statistically there is a
higher chance of finding a meteorite there, or, if you are hoping to
find something unique search in a place where no meteorite has
previously been found.
"One of the top places in the world to find meteorites is North America,
due to its featureless landscape, which allows the meteorites to be
spotted easily. Therefore, looking in similar landscapes in the UK could
also be lucrative," says Dr Greenwood.
If anyone does find a meteorite which is authenticated, it will be given
a name - usually based on where it is found - and will be added to an
official catalogue of finds held by the Natural History Museum.
A sample of any authenticated meteorite has to be handed to researchers,
but the remainder will be the property of the person who finds it or the
owner of the land where it was discovered.
Meteorites have so far been found in four sites in Scotland, two in
Wales and Northern Ireland and 12 in England.
The website is to be launched on 9 August and a programme, which will
feature the hunt, will be shown on BBC2 in late September.
Received on Tue 03 Aug 2004 11:53:01 AM PDT