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Meteorites, a piece of heaven

Updated on March 26, 2014

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket

I've been fascinated by meteors since I saw The Blob at my local film theatre. The year was 1959 and the fear of invasion from outer space was very real to me.

Just 10 years later a large meteorite fell about 80 km away from my town and, the skies being clear on that Spring night, I watched horror-struck with visions of a gelatinous creature oozing from the space rock.

These days I'm not afraid of meteorites, in fact I collect bits and pieces of them.

Collecting meteorites is a fascinating hobby. Buying meteorites is an investment

American Museum of Natural History

When you hold a meteorite in your hand, you're holding a fragment from the formation of the solar system.

Meteorites, Meteoroids and Meteors

From time to time, a rock falls from space and hits the Earth - this is a meteorite. If it doesn't collide with the Earth, it's a meteoroid.

When a meteoroid falls, it heats up in the atmosphere and leaves a trail of glowing molten rock. We see that trail, and we call it a meteor.

Small rocks can be destroyed by the atmosphere and never hit the earth but some bigger ones do and, when they hit, can make an incredibly big crater!

The Russian Meteor 15 February 2013

I don't know why the first still has a date of 2012 -as the frame opens you can see clearly that it's 15 February

Meteor Impact - The Arizona Crater

Meteor Crater in Arizona

Barringer Crater, near Winslow, Arizona, was formed about 50,000 years ago by an iron meteor about 30-50 metres in diameter. The crater itself is 1200 metres in diameter and 200 metres deep.

Lunar and Planetary Institute

Computer Simulation of a Large Meteor (scary)

The Blob - Beware of the Blob! It's a joy to watch!

The ultimate 1950s teenagers-battle-creatures movie, in which a youthful Steven McQueen (who would shortly decide that "Steve" sounded better) and his girlfriend try to save their town from an undulating pink mass of jello which eats people!

And no one believes the teenagers!

There's a superb scene which quite frightened me at the time, when the Blob sneaks into a movie theatre, and the crowd stampedes out screaming, some with their 3D glasses still glued to their face. Believe me, watching that in a movie theatre was pretty creepy.

I almost broke my ribs laughing when I saw that film 46 years later. It's a classic!

The Blob (1958)
The Blob (1958)

A wonderful example of 1950s sci fi, it's not just a hoot to watch, it's actually very well done and a heck of a lot of wholesome fun.

(Don't be too shocked when the teenagers break curfew!)

The final showdown between the blob and a terrified family is superb.

 

A Meteor falling in Western Australia

A Meteor captured on camera as it burns across the sky and then falls as a meteorite.

Where do you find a meteorite?

Although not many meteorites are seen hitting the ground and most fall into the sea, thousands are found each year.

Meteorites can be found all over the world, but are easiest to spot in dry places, such as deserts , where they don't erode quickly and are less likely to be obscured by vegetation.

The Murchison Meteorite - I saw it fall!


A chunk of the Murchison Meteorite


The Murchison Meteorite fell on September 28, 1969 over Murchison, Victoria in Australia. A bright fireball was seen, separating into three fragments, followed by a large cloud of smoke.

Lots of specimens were found over an area larger than 13 sq. kilometres. These specimens weighed in from 7 kg, and one big chunk weighing 680 g broke through a roof and fell into a stack of hay. Over 100 kg of this meteorite were found.

What's so fascinating about the Murchison Meteorite is the presence of organic compounds. More than 92 different amino acids have been identified to date, but only 19 of these are found on Earth.

The remaining amino acids have no apparent terrestrial source. We're getting close to the Blob here!

Encyclopedia of Science

Meteor Craters from Around the World

Find a Micrometeorite on your roof

Easier to find than you think

Micrometeorites can fall on your roof!

Rainwater will wash particles off of a roof and they collect at the drain spout. Tile roofs are best since they drain very well and don't produce many other sorts of particles or debris. However dust, plants and all other sorts of airborne material also collect at the drain spout.

To find the metallic micrometeorites, collect and dry some of the material from a deep bowl at the base of the drain spout.

Remove leaves and other debris, place the remaining material on a piece of paper and place a magnet under the paper.

Tilt and tap the paper so that all of the non-metallic particles fall off. Many of the remaining metallic particles are pieces of space dust!

Place the paper under a microscope. (You need high power to see them clearly).

Most of the particles are not from space, but the micrometeorites will show signs of their fiery trip through the atmosphere. They will be rounded and may have small pits on their surfaces.

Have you had a close up and personal encounter with a meteorite?

Have you seen a meteorite fall?

See results

I'm fascinated with Fossil Shark Teeth too

From the unimaginable distances of far off galaxies to the just as unimaginable distances of Time.


Shark Teeth
One of the most enduring success stories from evolution is that of the shark. They're older than dinosaurs, 200 million years older, and the story of their c...

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 4 years ago from California

      Really informative! I saw the Russian meteor on the news. I think that would have scared the pants off me.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 5 years ago

      Fascinating information - and kinda scary when you think about things falling out of the sky.

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 5 years ago

      I have a small meteorite... it's one of my prized possessions.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      Fascinating! Love all this stuff and videos about meteorites

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 6 years ago

      Great lens!

    • TrentAdamsCA profile image

      TrentAdamsCA 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this. Good blend of your personal experience and knowledge about meteorites with outside sources and pics. Thanks for the adventure. I remember "The Blob" -- all the science fiction, horror and digging in the dirt when I was a kid affected me for life.

    • profile image

      JSimpson20 7 years ago

      I actually found one, i was working as a landscaper and saw this burnt up hole in the ground when i looked in the hole there was this little black rock.. i'm looking to sell it ut i would like to have it appraised where can i get something like that done? if anyone knows anything i would greatly appreciate the help. e-mail me at blakkatxii@aol.com thanks

    • profile image

      QueSea 7 years ago

      Cool picture of The Murchison Meteorite. Is that you're picture too? I added this lens to my favorites!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I'm revisiting this lens now that I've been up close and personal with a meteorite. We just had quite a show here in Flagstaff, Arizona on Saturday night/Sunday morning. And it appeared that pieces hit the ground in the area, though nothing has been found yet. I know the meteorite hunters are out in full force.

    • CollectorsCottage profile image

      CollectorsCottage 9 years ago

      SO interesting!! Makes me wonder if I've ever overlooked one of these treasures... Welcome to the Collector Club group!

    • James20 profile image

      James20 9 years ago

      I love meteorites. I have always wanted to find one. Here in Minnesota it would be hard to find one unless you see were it hit the ground. This is a great lens on this. 5*

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 9 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Meteorites are so fascinating and you bring that out really well. Great pictures too.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Perfect for lensrolling to "Life on Mars (Hill). As usual, another well-written, quality lens from susanna! 5*

    • Brewsterboy profile image

      Brewsterboy 9 years ago

      Another nice lens! Five stars!

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