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See the Fireball That Likely Dropped a Bounty of Meteorites on Canada

The incoming space rock put on quite a show.

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The brightest streak on the right represents the fireball as seen by a Global Meteor Network camera in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Miguel Preciado

If you ever wanted to find a chunk of meteorite, you've got a better than usual chance if you head to the eastern edge of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. A blazing fireball shot through the atmosphere late on Sunday, and it probably dropped some meteorites north of the town of Argyle.

A network of all-sky cameras run by Western University's physics and astronomy department caught sight of the bright meteor. "This fireball was particularly significant because it was moving slowly, was on an asteroidal orbit and ended very low in the atmosphere. These are all good indicators that material survived," said meteor specialist Denis Vida in a Western University statement on Monday.

The university shared some views from Global Meteor Network cameras that documented the incoming fireball. The Global Meteor Network is a citizen-science project that tracks meteors using small cameras installed around the globe.

Vida estimated the mass of the rock at about 22 pounds (10 kilograms), saying, "We would expect tens to hundreds of grams of material on the ground."

Western is hoping meteorite hunters will get in touch with any findings, asking them to contact the Royal Ontario Museum at naturalhistory@rom.on.ca. The dark, often magnetic rocks can be collected in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil to keep them as pristine as possible. The university reminds meteorite hunters to always get land owner permission to collect rocks.

Vida offers a compelling reason for sharing meteor finds with scientists rather than stashing them in a personal collection: "Meteorites are of great interest to researchers as studying them helps us to understand the formation and evolution of the solar system." Meteorite hunters can play a role in that worthy quest for knowledge.