Woman Discovers Meteorite in Her Garden: A fascinating incident unfolded as a woman was abruptly awakened by a loud noise, only to discover a meteorite in her own garden. This extraordinary occurrence took place following the sighting of a brilliant fireball, also known as a bolide, streaking across the night sky in France.
According to the Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network (FRIPON)/Vigie-Ciel, a French citizen science project, numerous locals witnessed the meteor’s descent on the nights of September 9 and 10. Multiple cameras captured this breathtaking event.
As FRIPON/Vigie-Ciel worked to determine the meteor’s landing location, they received a report from a woman living in the Communauté de Communes Sauldre et Sologne in central France. She believed that the meteor had crashed into her garden, and the following morning, she discovered fragments of rock scattered across her yard.
Prompted by this intriguing claim, a team embarked on an investigation and confirmed that the meteor had indeed landed in her garden, dividing into three fragments with a combined weight of approximately 1.5 pounds.
Sylvain Bouley, the president of the Astronomical Society of France (SAF), expressed their certainty, stating, “Immediately, we set off. And when we got there, we were immediately sure.” He further described the meteorite, saying, “We had a beautiful fusion crust [formed by the rock melting upon atmospheric entry], the interior was very clear, there were shiny gravels inside which betrayed the presence of metal… All the characteristics of a meteorite.”
Meteors are composed of rocks and ice that plunge into Earth’s atmosphere, reaching immense temperatures as they hurtle toward the ground at high speeds. Once a meteor makes contact with the Earth’s surface, it is referred to as a meteorite.
Bouley estimated that the French meteorite was traveling at several hundred miles per hour during its collision with the Earth. Jonti Horner, an astrophysics professor at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, explained the process, saying, “As it comes into Earth’s atmosphere at high speed (above 12 kilometers [7.5 miles] per second), it pushes the air in front of it, causing that air to become superheated (kind of like a shockwave), which in turn causes the surface of the rock to ‘ablate.’ Basically, the very surface layer gets superheated and vaporized.”
Interestingly, despite the scorching heat experienced during atmospheric entry, a meteorite remains cold once it lands on the ground. Horner used the analogy of deep-fried ice cream to describe this phenomenon, saying, “You have a lump of rock or metal that is moving through space and has been in space for billions of years. So it will be chilled through to its very center—nice and cold… The interior will still be bitterly cold—but that fall will be plenty of time for the surface to cool off.”
Therefore, the descent of a meteorite is unlikely to cause a fire in a house or garden, as it cools down significantly before reaching the surface. The fragments discovered in the woman’s garden have been transferred to the National Museum of Natural History in France for analysis, where scientists will delve deeper into their composition and origins.
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