Press Release

Scientists use video in search for rare meteorite

By SpaceRef Editor
November 30, 2002
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A University of Alberta astronomy camera captured a
photograph of a blazing fireball, which may provide clues to finding a rare

“If we could find the remains of the meteorite, it would be quite
significant, not simply because it’s another meteorite but because we would
have the potential for determining its trajectory before it struck the
earth,” said U of A physics professor, Dr. Doug Hube. “We might be able to
learn where in the solar system it came from.”

The camera on the rooftop observatory on the U of A physics building
captured the image moving from the southwest horizon to the northwest for
about seven seconds at 5:10 a.m. early Wednesday morning. Hube and Martin
Connors from Athabasca University are analysing the tape and using
eyewitness reports to do a geometric triangulation, which will determine a
more specific area to find the meteorite.

Videotape from the U of A’s cameras is considered the final authority. The
cameras record images of the sky 24 hours a day. About once a year, the
cameras capture something worth following up, Hube said. The camera is
mounted above a hemispherical mirror, which allows researchers to monitor
the entire sky at one time.

If this latest meteorite can be found, it will offer insight to its
celestial beginnings and teach us more about the larger environment we live

“Meteorites are the building blocks of the planets,” Hube said. “They can
give us clues about circumstances in this corner of the universe 4.5 billion
years ago. Understanding them gives us a broader picture to understand the
formation of the solar system, to understand the formation of planets.”

The University of Alberta’s Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department boasts
a meteorite collection second only to the national one in Ottawa. It is
comprised of more than 130 different meteorites–13 of which were found in
Alberta. Only 50 meteorites have been found in Canada.

SpaceRef staff editor.