A fireball that lit up the sky could have dropped a meteorite in South Wales, scientists say, as locals are urged to look for ‘small dark space rocks’ – but warned not to touch them
- A ball of fire lit up the sky in Rhondda Cynon Taf or Bridgend, South Wales last week
- More than 20 kg of rock from an asteroid entered the atmosphere at 30 km per second
- The meteor is probably smaller than an apple and a shiny black or brown stone
- If someone finds the meteor, they are told not to touch it or approach it with a magnet
People have been told to search for a meteorite that landed in South Wales last week.
The UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll) said a fireball lit up the night sky and may have landed somewhere in County Bridgend or Rhondda Cynon Taf, according to the BBC.
The UKFA confirmed the sighting took place on May 12 at 12:40 a.m. BST and some may have heard a booming sound, Wales Online said.
Will Gater, astronomer, science journalist and astrophotographer, said: “Now we need the public’s help to keep an eye out for the dark little rocks in space!”
Scientists are reminding people not to touch the meteor with their bare hands or with a magnet as this could damage the dark outer crust.
Dr Jana Horák of the National Museum Cardiff said the meteorite is “probably shiny black or brown”.
It was recorded by more than 25 meteor cameras coordinated by the UK Fireball Alliance, as well as several security cameras and dashcams belonging to members of the public.
The meteor was spotted by more than 25 meteor cameras but was not found
The meteor emitted a bright light that lit up the night sky
The UK Fireball Alliance thinks a meteorite may have fallen in this area
The meteor was spotted in the sky in the early hours of the morning, prompting over 200 sightings reported to the UK Meteor Network from locations visible in the map above.
UKFALL member Dr Horák asked if anyone found anything unusual over the weekend as he said looking for rocks smaller than an apple in such a large area was like look for a needle in a haystack.
About 20 kg (44 lb) of rock from the asteroid entered the atmosphere at almost 30 km per second, most of which would have been vaporized within seconds.
However, it was calculated that around 100g of space rock survived and landed in an area just north of the town of Bridgend.
Dr Jana Horák of the National Museum Cardiff said the meteorite is “probably shiny black or brown”
If you find anything, don’t use your bare hands or touch the meteor with magnets
Analysis by @UK_Fireball teams suggests 100g of meteorite material passed through Earth’s atmosphere and most likely landed in South Wales
Sightings of fireball meteors are rare, but thousands of meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere every day, according to the International Meteor Organization.
The majority of counters enter over the ocean and uninhabited regions, or are hidden in daylight so not visible.
The UK Meteor Network, a group recording meteors and fireballs over the UK, said it had received several reports of a “fireball” in the sky.
A few days earlier, on May 12, another meteor was spotted in the early morning sky, prompting over 200 sightings reported to the UK Meteor Network.
If you think you have found the meteor, contact the UK Fireball Alliance here https://www.ukfall.org.uk/
Anyone who thinks they have found a piece of the meteorite is asked to send a photo and coordinates of the location to: email@example.com
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