Experts say a fireball meteorite that lit up the sky may have landed in Wales

A meteor fireball that lit up British skies last week may have dropped a meteorite in south Wales, scientists say.

UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll) experts believe the meteorite fell somewhere near Bridgend, a town halfway between Cardiff and Swansea.

The fireball was sighted at 12:40 am on Thursday, May 12 and sightings of the spectacle were widely shared on social media.

The scientists said about 20 kg of rock from an asteroid entered the atmosphere at almost 30 km/s.

An image of the meteor seen from Koksijde in Belgium with internal reflection

(Didier van Hellemont by AllSky7)

A view of the meteor hurtling over Sturminster, Dorset

(John Savage from AllSky7)

“Most of the rock vaporized in the atmosphere within seconds, but we calculated that maybe 100 grams survived and ended up in an area north of Bridgend,” said Dr. Jana Horák from National Museum Cardiff and member of UKFAll.

To fuel the search for the fragment, she is now asking people in the area if they found anything or anything unusual in the Bridgend area over the weekend.

“Looking for rocks smaller than an apple in Bridgend and the surrounding hills and forests is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Dr. Horak.

“It’s likely a glossy black or brown color, perhaps with the dark fusion crust broken off in places, but it won’t appear spongy or bubbly.”

A map of the alleged fall area of ​​the meteorite

(UK Fireball Alliance)

UKFAll has warned anyone who thinks they’ve found a meteorite not to touch the object with their bare hands or touch it with a magnet, as doing so can jeopardize scientific analysis of the rock.

dr Ashley King of Planetary Materials Group said: “The meteorite does not get hot and is as safe to handle as any other stone, but please avoid picking it up with your bare hands if possible as this would contaminate the stone.

“Also, don’t test it with a magnet as it could destroy valuable information. It can be located in a place where rocks are not usually found, e.g. B. on a lawn or footpath.

“Don’t take chances looking for it and don’t venture into areas where you shouldn’t. But if you’ve found something out of place within the calculated case range, we’re certainly interested in checking it out.”

An annotated map showing the locations of public sightings of the meteor fireball

(International Meteor Organization)

It comes weeks after UKFAll searched for asteroid fragments in Shropshire, and just over a year after a meteorite was spotted in the Cotswolds town of Winchcombe after it landed in a family’s driveway.

UKFAll has asked anyone who thinks they’ve spotted a piece of last week’s autumn to send them a photo and the coordinates of the location. Experts say a fireball meteorite that lit up the sky may have landed in Wales

Bobby Allyn

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