A huge fireball was observed in the sky over Bancroft, Ontario early last Wednesday morning, July 24. Now the ROM is reaching out to the public to see if anyone was able to acquire fragments of the Ontario fireball to put in the museum. Although meteorites are not of monetary value, they are considered priceless to scientists because of the information that they hold about outer space.
Researchers believe that the meteor, which was recorded at 4:44 a.m. ET on Jul. 27, was the size of a beach ball and as bright as the full moon.
"This fireball likely dropped a small number of meteorites in the Bancroft area, specifically near the small town of Cardiff," said Peter Brown, an astronomy professor at Western University. Western's all-sky camera network, which runs in conjunction with NASA, captured the image recording of the meteor.
"We suspect meteorites made it to the ground because the fireball ended very low in the atmosphere just to the west of Bancroft and slowed down significantly. This is a good indicator that material survived," said Brown in a media release.
Meteorites are safe to touch, but researchers recommend handling them as little as possible in order to preserve any information that they may hold. You should put them in a plastic bag or wrap in aluminum foil to preserve their scientific value.
Although it is difficult to distinguish a meteorite from just a regular rock, they are most easily recognized by their black, glassy exterior, and their denseness. Another way to verify a meteorite is by using a regular fridge magnet. If the rock is magnetic, it is more than likely a meteorite.
If you think you may have found fragments of this fireball, the next scheduled rock, gem, mineral, fossil, and meteorite identification clinic will be held at the ROM this August 21.
“Meteorites are of great interest to researchers as studying them helps us to understand the formation and evolution of the solar system,” says Brown.
If you live too far to go to the ROM and are unsure of whether your find is an actual meteorite, you can contact Kim Tait of the Royal Ontario Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture and description.