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Canadian Astronomers Capture Rare Meteor Footage Near Toronto

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  • Ron Baalke
    Department of Communications and Public Affairs University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada Wednesday, December 14, 2011 Western astronomers capture
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2011
      Department of Communications and Public Affairs
      University of Western Ontario
      London, Ontario, Canada

      Wednesday, December 14, 2011

      Western astronomers capture rare meteor footage in the sky east of Toronto
      By Communications Staff

      Astronomers from The University of Western Ontario have released footage of
      a meteor, which was captured by its highly advanced video surveillance
      system, traveling through the evening sky east of Toronto on Monday evening
      (December 12, 2011).

      Although this bright fireball occurred near the peak of the annual Geminid
      meteor shower, it is unrelated to that shower.

      At 6:04 p.m., six cameras of Western's Southern Ontario Meteor Network
      recorded a slow-moving fireball, estimated to be no bigger than a
      basketball, which first entered the atmosphere at a shallow angle of 25
      degrees from the horizontal moving at 14 km per second. It first became
      visible over Lake Erie then moved toward the north-northeast ending at an
      altitude of 31 km just south of the town of Selwyn, Ontario. It is likely to
      have dropped small meteorites in a region to the east of Selwyn near the
      eastern end of Upper Stony Lake.

      The video data suggest an end mass that may total as much as a few
      kilograms, likely in the form of many fragments in one gram to hundreds of a
      gram size range.

      "Finding a meteorite from a fireball captured by video is equivalent to a
      planetary sample return mission," says Peter Brown, the Director of
      Western's Centre for Planetary & Space Exploration. "We know where the
      object comes from in our solar system and can study it in the lab. Only
      about a dozen previous meteorite falls have had their orbits measured by
      cameras so each new event adds significantly to our understanding of the
      small bodies in the solar system. In essence, each new recovered meteorite
      is adding to our understanding of the formation and evolution of our own
      solar system."

      Researchers at Western and the Royal Ontario Museum are interested in
      hearing from anyone who may have found fragments of the freshly fallen
      meteorite.

      For assistance with possible meteorites, please contact Kimberly Tait at
      416-586-5820 or ktait@...

      To arrange interviews with Peter Brown, please contact Jeff Renaud at
      519-661-2111, ext 85165 or jrenaud9@...

      For videos, please visit
      http://meteor.uwo.ca/research/fireball/events/selwyn/videos.html

      For an overview, images and a map, please visit
      http://meteor.uwo.ca/research/fireball/events/selwyn/overview.html

      For a fall map, please visit
      http://meteor.uwo.ca/research/fireball/events/selwyn/fallmap.html
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