Finnish Amateurs Track Down Meteorites

The Astronomical Association Ursa, the largest astronomy society in Finland, announced their contribution to the discovery of meteorites after a half-ton space rock entered Earth’s atmosphere. The resulting fireball streaked across the night skies above the border between Finland and Russia. A search team found several fragments that survived the fiery entry - but only because the Finnish amateurs pointed the way.

The Astronomical Association Ursa was founded almost a century ago and now has over 17,000 members. A few of the members formed the Ursa Finnish Fireball Network to improve the search for meteorites. They maintain a network of all-sky video cameras that record any meteors that pass overhead. Analyzing video from several cameras lets the team triangulate the object’s original orbit as well as potential landing sites for surviving meteorites. The Ursa team works with similar networks in eastern Europe.

On the night of April 19, 2014, three of the Ursa cameras captured the Kola meteor’s flight. A fourth video caught by a Russian dashcam let the Finnish Fireball Network calculate the meteor’s path and predict that fragments may have landed near the Russian city of Murmansk. A multinational team of professionals and amateurs spread out to find meteorites - not an easy task in a region covered in dense forests and wetlands. Despite the difficulties, they found a 120 gram meteorite and a 48 gram meteorite.

Scientists with the Czech Geologic Survey analyzed the two fragments and determined that the original object was an ordinary chondrite - a survivor from the earliest years of the Solar System.

(Via Universe Today)