Homeowner finds warm, charred meteorite rock

Homeowner finds warm, charred meteorite rock

Charred Meteorite

Dan Charlton was standing in his back garden in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, when he saw a green light and heard a “whoosh” as an object plummeted to the ground. The next day, he discovered a small charred rock lying on a street close to his home. It was still warm and smelled burnt.

“I went outside and looked up and saw this light and thought, ‘Is that a firework?'” said Dan. “It was really close. It came down in a straight line, and what was interesting was it had a green flame, like a hue, that burnt and then disappeared.

You could hear it make a brief ‘whoosh’ sound, and then I was expecting a big bang, but it was just silent. There was no one else around, and I thought, ‘That’s definitely a meteorite.’ I was fascinated.

Following the otherworldly display on May 6, which lasted a matter of seconds, he searched online and discovered it could be debris from Halley’s Comet because it smelled like it had been “in a fire.” He later showed a picture of the object to a geologist, who told him it “appears to be a meteorite” and said a simple test could prove it.

Meteorite or mundane terrestrial objects

“He said that it would have a light magnetic field, so I got a magnet—and found that it worked.”

Prof. Simon Kelley, who examined the meteorite under a microscope at the University of Leeds, said he wasn’t 100% convinced it was a meteorite but acknowledged that it was unusual and planned further testing.

“When I looked at it with the microscope, there were clues that made me lean towards it being a terrestrial rock,” said Kelley. “First, I could not see any evidence of a fusion crust. Meteorites usually have a thin coating of black melted rock that forms due to the friction of falling through the atmosphere.

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Also, I could see what appeared to be holes and medium-sized crystals. Most meteorites are highly fine-grained and contain very characteristic circular structures called chondrules.”

However, Kelley noted that there are other types of meteorites, so the rock’s classification couldn’t be determined just yet. To be sure, he planned to begin by cutting a slice of the rock.

“That slice will then be ground and polished so that it is so thin we can shine light through it, and we will be able to identify the internal structures and minerals. That will take a couple of weeks to complete, and we’ll then get back in touch with Dan to share the details of what makes up the rock he found.”

The discovery has sparked excitement and curiosity among local residents and scientists alike, and further analysis is awaited to determine the exact nature of the mysterious rock.


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