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Meteor Spotted Yesterday Over Midwestern United States

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  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:14PM (#31865368) Homepage Journal
    Just a hint to any slashdotters in that area, a few of my friends a couple years back watched a small meteor impact up near Sonora Pass in California. It was close by so they took a weekend and went camping up on the pass. They wandered about relatively aimlessly looking for any rocks that seemed odd or out of place. When they found a suspect, they used some magnets they had brought to see if it was ferrous. Eventually, they found one small chunk of rock (think size of your hand) that the magnet stuck to out of sheer luck. They brought it back, had it evaluated by someone (can't recall who, but someone at a nearby university), and ended up selling it for just over $1000 since it was, legitimately, a small chunk of the meteor. If any dotters have a taste for adventure and have a weekend to kill near the area that this impacted, you should go out and see what you can find. It might pay off.
  • by Torrance (1599681) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:19PM (#31865444)
    The CNN article states that the fireball was visible for about 15 minutes. That seems awfully long for a meteor.
  • Planetary defense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:28PM (#31865550) Homepage Journal

    One day we'll be able to predict events like this. You'll see something in the sky, go to a website, or pull up an app on your smart phone, and it'll have a designation based on when it was first detected and the flight path that object took to hit the atmosphere. Maybe the website will look something like this [nasa.gov], but hopefully not ;) Tracking small rocks like this might seem like a waste of time, until we predict one that is going to hit a major populated area - lives could be saved. This would be a side-benefit of the real purpose of the program - detecting planet killer sized hazards and preparing for the day when we need to divert one. The economic benefits of capturing asteroids in orbit and utilizing the materials should also be considerable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:31PM (#31865580)

    Why would you sell something like that?

    It's a once in a lifetime find (potentially) and i'd want to keep it on my shelf somewhere. It'd be a great coffee table piece.

  • by phizix (1143711) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:36PM (#31865612)
    And here [wisc.edu] is another great view of the fireball from Madison.
  • by TechwoIf (1004763) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:49PM (#31865760) Homepage
    I was on my way home last night very late, around 11pm and saw a meter streak about 1/4 the way across the sky. Normally I see them flash a white streak across the sky and burn up quickly, but this one stayed non-white burning stage for a long time and rather slow across the sky. I lost sight of it near the horizon and wonder if that one hit the ground. My location was south central west Indiana and looking east.
  • by JWSmythe (446288) <(moc.ehtymswj) (ta) (ehtymswj)> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:58PM (#31865874) Homepage Journal

        There was a good show on this, I believe on the Discovery Channel. There's an art (and science) to searching debris fields. They had assembled a large loop to be a metal detector attached to a PVC pipe frame that they dragged behind their truck. If you know the direction it came in, and a likely impact site, you can start hunting. You have an advantage that you know at least one part of the debris field. I'd guess that area is mountainous, so a tow behind metal detector is probably out, but you and a few friends doing a grid search with metal detectors may be able to find something useful. If it's been a few years (like more than 3), since you know the location of one piece, you may be able to spot impact craters with Google Maps.

        You got $1k for a chunk the size of your hand. What if you collected a truck full of them? I'd offer to play, but I'm a couple thousand miles beyond coming out to search.

  • by dachopigu (1791120) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:32PM (#31866152)
    Was there a blob inside?
  • Spy Satellite. Duh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rdmiller3 (29465) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @09:02PM (#31866450) Journal

    This doesn't make sense for a "meteor". The atmosphere is less than 200 miles thick, and the chance that a meteorite will skim across that relatively thin layer of atmosphere long enough to be sited along a 700-mile path over multiple states is infinitesimal. Multiply that by the tiny fractional probability that it would have enough mass to burn that long and the odds look impossible.

    More likely, this was a massive satellite in near earth orbit. That's really the only reasonable thing which would match the observations.

    So, since it's not being reported as a satellite it's probably a secret satellite. We already know that NASA launches classified payloads. It's safe to assume that other countries do too. Stealth technology would be simple, just build it with flat metal sides painted black and power it with a self-contained reactor (and there's your mass).

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