Astronomers using web to find valuable meteor

4 Feb 2010

The search is on in Ireland for a meteor that crashed from the heavens last night and that could be worth a small fortune. An astronomy group is hoping to use the web to triangulate from reports where the space rock may have landed.

The last time a meteor hit Ireland was 1999 in Carlow and it sold for US$500 a gram.

Numerous sightings of a strange explosion and then a fireball racing across the sky in Ireland had the country wondering what was happening.

Billions of years ago, most of the rocks and dust in the solar system condensed to form the sun and the planets. However, some leftover debris still floats around in space. Sometimes, this debris makes its way to Earth and causes a spectacular sight in the night sky.

According to Astronomy Ireland’s David Moore, the meteor that crashed into the atmosphere above Ireland could have been the size of a small car.

The fireball was seen flying inland, which means it’s unlikely to have crashed far out to sea.

This has prompted conjecture as to where indeed the meteor could have fallen and reports have suggested sightings of the fireball above the sky in Kerry, the Midlands and even Northern Ireland.

Astronomy Ireland is urging anyone who had seen the fireball last night to enter their details on a form on the organisation’s website, with the idea of hopefully triangulating from reports where the space rock may have landed.

By John Kennedy

Photo: A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower, courtesy of Wikipedia

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years