A spectacular fireball on 23rd October may have dropped meteorites over the Cotswolds.
The fireball was picked up on more than a dozen cameras from the UK Meteor Network (UKMON) and was composed of a small chunk of asteroid. Analysis indicated that a few hundred grammes may have made it to ground level somewhere to the north-east of Cirencester – by an amazing coincidence, less than ten kilometres from where the Winchcombe Meteorite fell not so long ago.
Scientists from across the UK, working with the UK Fireball Alliance and UKMON, conducted a search of the area in the following two weeks but so far, no material has been found. The team remain hopeful though the recent rainy weather is likely to have damaged any fragments.
Dr Ashley King of the Planetary Materials Group at the Natural History Museum offered the following advice for anyone living in the area who thinks they may have something:
“If possible, please don’t pick it up with your bare hands as that will contaminate the stone. It’s probably a glossy, black or brown colour, maybe with the dark fusion crust broken off in places. Meteorites are never spongy or bubbly, so if it looks like a rusty bath sponge or it has bubbly melted bits then it is definitely not a meteorite! It may be in a place where rocks aren’t usually found, like on a lawn or footpath. Don’t take any risks looking for it, and don’t go into areas where you shouldn’t. But if you have found something out-of-place, we’ll certainly be interested to check it out.”
Will Gater has also provided the below infographic, explaining what to do if you find something.
This is the fifth potential meteorite dropping fireball of 2022. Previously, there were fireballs off the Isle of Wight and West Coast of Scotland that probably dropped rocks into the sea, a likely fall over South Wales that may have dropped meteorites in the Valleys, and one over Shropshire that was also the subject of a ground search.
If you think you’ve found a piece of the 23rd October meteorite fall, then please send a photo and coordinates of the location to firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the orbit and trajectory can be seen on the UKMON’s website here