More on our meteorite

INTEREST in our local meteor certainly hasn’t waned, with plenty of talk still surrounding the fascinating occurrence of Tuesday afternoon, August 17, as the search for hard evidence continues.

Since initial stories of the meteor being seen passing over the Craigie area, and splitting up in the direction of Delegate, the Bombala Times has heard from a number of readers keen to share their experiences.

The most interesting comes from a Delegate man, who heard the meteor for at least ten seconds as he stood on his property in the area behind the Delegate Country Club.

Like others, he described the sound as being like that of a loud jet passing over at low altitude, but where his story varies is that he could hear something similar to the sound of missiles being fired.

To clarify, he said there were several separate bangs to be heard beyond main roaring sound, with a hissing or whooshing sound accompanying each.

This would leave us to believe that the man heard the meteor breaking up in the area.

The Bombala Times put Research Geologist, Dr Andy Tomkins in touch with the Delegate local in hopes this will help the scientist in his search for the meteorite.

Dr Tomkins has already spent time gathering information and searching parts of the Mt Tingaringy area for the meteorite, but has so far lacked the sighting details he needs to triangulate an approximate location.

He has now enlisted external help, with a US scientist currently attempting to use weather radar to track the path of the meteorite through the atmosphere to try and narrow down the search area.

Marc Fries, Ph.D. of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona has been working for about five years now on using the American national Doppler weather radar network to find meteorites.

“I work with my brother Jeff Fries, who is a retired meteorologist with extensive experience in using weather radars for their intended purpose,” Dr Fries explains.

“The whole idea started as a sort of a joke, as we were discussing what kind of gene must be responsible for fascinating both of us with objects that fall from the sky - him with weather and me with meteorites.

“We realized that there was no real reason why we shouldn’t be able to spot falling meteorites using weather radars.

“From there we collected radar data after reports of bright meteors around the country. We worked at this for a few years before the ‘Ash Creek’ meteorite fall outside of the town of West, Texas in February of 2009.

“That fall occurred between two radars on a cloudless day and provided us with our first solid evidence of what a meteorite fall looks like on radar.

“In total we’ve examined almost 100 separate meteor events and have located meteorites or potential meteorites in about a dozen of them.

“I’m interested in assisting with locating meteorites from your recent fireball for one, because freshly-fallen meteorites in particular are very important to our scientific understanding of the origins and history of our Solar System.

“Secondly, I am interested in expanding this technique for use in other countries with national weather radar networks.

“Meteorites fall every year, all over the globe. Anywhere there are radars there is a chance of observing the meteorites in flight, and from there we have a very good chance of locating them and significantly increasing the number of meteorites available for research.”

Dr Fries assured us he is not interested in bringing those meteorites to the United States, but only in helping Australians use their own radars to find Australian meteorites for their own research.

Should there be any success with our own meteorite the Bombala Times will print the details, but in the meantime, anyone who thinks they have something significant to share about the occurrence can contact us on 6458 3666.

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