[meteorite-list] Thomas Grau Lolland Interview in English

From: bernd.pauli at paulinet.de <bernd.pauli_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: 16 Mar 2009 21:21:50 UT
Message-ID: <DIIE.00000056000039EC_at_paulinet.de>

Thomas ?sterberg asked: "Can anybody translate into English?"

Hi Thomas(es) and List,

Something like this:

Fragments of a meteorite found on the island of Lolland. It was the talk all over
the country a few weeks ago: a meteorite over Southern Scandinavia and at first
no one was really able to explain what that phenomenon was that had lit up the
evening sky. A surveillance video camera in Southern Sweden had taken a sequence
of pictures of an object with a fiery tail and experts soon agreed that it was definitely
a fireball, the remains of which were supposed to have landed in the south of Denmark,
most likely in the Baltic Sea - that's at least what most people thought. Many people
soon visited the area trying to find pieces of this meteorite, among them an expert
in such matters: Thomas Grau from Berlin who did finally succeed in finding some

Thomas Grau: You can see that meteorites are not hot to the touch when they
reach the ground because there are no traces of burnt grass or singed material.

Yesterday morning these pieces weighing 30 grams arrived at the Geological
Museum along with other (scientific) material.

Thomas Grau is an expert, ... he hunts meteorites.

Thomas Grau: The very moment you find the meteorite you feel like in seventh
heaven and all the stress is gone, it's an unbelievable moment of joy. It's not
something others have already found as well, . you are the very first and you
can now be sure that your calculations and computations were correct.

Thomas Grau found the messenger from space in a meadow where it had pene-
trated to a depth of 5 cm (about 2 inches) - a real surprise because experts had
assumed it had fallen into the Baltic Sea.

This find can give us clues to how the solar system formed and where we came
from. That meteorite is 4.5 billion years old and dates back to a time when our
Earth was formed.

That meteorite struck the Earth on January 18, 2009 in a meadow between M. and R.

I'd now like to welcome Thomas Grau in our studio in Rostock. Hello Th. Gr. and
good evening. You found these pieces and I guess that must have been like finding
the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Thomas Grau: Yes, that's pretty close to what it was like.

Would you please explain a little bit how you proceeded even though you
knew that most people assumed it had prpbably plunged into the Baltic Sea.

Thomas Grau: Yes, the problem you are usually confronted with is that ear- or
eyewitnesses who want to describe something they have seen or heard can only
judge such events from their limited perspective and knowledge of the events.
Most people on Lolland haven't even seen the meteor itself but only the light
phenomena, like light reflected off the clouds - it was as bright as daylight
- imagine you are sitting in a room, usually with only one or two windows and
if you saw a bright light through a window facing south, you will probably con-
clude the meteor appeared in the south and if you look through a window facing
north, you will probably assume it approached from the north. So you have to ask
people on Lolland, interrogate people in Rostock (where the light phenomena had
also been seen) and only then you can draw a conclusive picture of what really
happened and where it happened.

So you really narrowed it down until you were quite close to it?

Thomas Grau: Yes, that was two months of hard work. You can't just set off
for Lolland and say ok I'm going hunt meteorites now. That simply doesn't work.
First you have to investigate and sift through the observations and that's what my
real job is about. I evaluate meteor sightings. Some peope call them fireball, others
prefer the term bolide but in the end they are exploding meteors announcing the fall
of a meteorite but if this special event really produced a meteorite, ... well, no one
really knew.

Mr Grau, I've been told that it is a very particular kind of meteoritic rock.

Thomas Grau: Yes, that's right and I must admit I had a certain presentiment because
this fireball you can see in the video recording was somehow different from others
we've seen.
Usually, there is no afterglow but this one did have an afterglow! And we also know
from eye-witnesses, well, in this case earwitnesses that the fireball exploded and pene-
trated deep into our atmosphere and these are the things that turn me on and which
make me jump into action.

That's very exciting and interesting and I had already anticipated a little bit that a
fireball of type two, not type one (that's what scientists call them) would yield a some-
what softer material, . in other words, something like carbonaceous material.

Mr Grau: One quick and final question:

What do you personally get from all this? Only fame and glory?

Thomas Grau: No, no. There's a rather strict law here in Denmark that you have
to hand it over to the authorities right after the find, that I can't keep it and take
it home (to Germany) because this would be illegal but, on the other hand, this
law also says and that's ok that you get a reward.

Thank you, Mr Grau, . thank you very much.
Received on Mon 16 Mar 2009 05:21:50 PM PDT

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