Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nullarbor fireball cameras find rare meteorite

22.09.2009
Using cameras which capture fireballs streaking across the night sky and sophisticated mathematics, a world-wide team of scientists have managed to find not only a tiny meteorite on the vast Nullarbor Plain, but also its orbit and the asteroid it came from.

The research team, including CSIRO scientist Dr Rob Hough, was led by Professor Phil Bland of Imperial College London.

The remarkable "detective" work was detailed in a paper published in Science on September 18, 2009.

Meteorites discovered with known orbits are incredibly rare, so the achievement is a remarkable breakthrough in planetary science.

The ability to track meteorites back to their asteroid home also means it is an incredibly cheap way of sampling that asteroid, rather than conducting an expensive space mission.

To find the meteorite, the team deployed three 'all sky cameras' on the Nullarbor Plain to form a fireball camera network.

The cameras take a single time lapse picture of the sky throughout the entire night to record any fireballs over the Plain.

Combined with some clever mathematics, researchers were then able to calculate the original orbit of the object and where to search for the meteorite on the ground.

CSIRO Exploration & Mining scientist and co-author of the paper Dr Rob Hough said the search for the meteorite was helped by the fact the Nullarbor Plain is marked by white limestone rocks.

"So a dark meteorite on the white surface is easier to find, however it's very tiny, so the discovery is still really quite amazing," Dr Hough said.

"This particular meteorite is also very interesting because of its rarity. It is an achondrite – a basalt - with a composition that suggest an asteroid from the inner asteroid belt."

Dr Hough said the 'all sky camera' network had been an extremely successful project and had spotted many fireballs.

"The Plain is a very difficult place to have technology like the cameras and the fieldwork to find the meteorite is not trivial," he said.

"The logistics are a really important aspect of a project like this and it takes a lot of planning to make it work."

The Science paper describes the first find of a meteorite from the camera network.

Western Australia Chief Scientist Professor Lyn Beazley described it as an extremely exciting finding, which will help us understand the evolution of the solar system.

"It will complement Western Australia's radio astronomy research and, in particular, Australia's commitment to the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, " Professor Beazley said.

"This also represents an extraordinary collaborative effort between CSIRO, the Western Australian Museum and academics from the UK and takes advantage of the unique features of Western Australia, which allows the tracking, locating and collecting of rare meteorite material."

Bob Chamberlain | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.csiro.au
http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/mediarelease/mr09-165.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>