Meteorites may have landed in a small Ontario town overnight, according to experts who tracked a bright fireball seen over southern Ontario and Quebec.
Steven Ehlert at NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office suggested meteorite fragments likely landed in Bancroft, Ont. early Wednesday morning.
Researchers believe the original meteoroid was about the size of a beach ball.
The spectacular light show was captured by all ten cameras in the Western University’s All-Sky Camera Network which collaborates with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Centre.
The network of cameras, which spans southern Ontario and Quebec, spotted the fireball over Lake Ontario, which then flew over the Ontario towns of Clarington and Peterborough before dimming west of Bancroft.
Cameras in the network as far away as Montreal recorded the streak.
In a press release, Western University astronomy professor Peter Brown believes material from the meteor landed near the small Ontario town of Cardiff.
“We suspect meteorites made it to the ground because the fireball ended very low in the atmosphere just to the west of Bancroft and slowed down significantly,” he said.
Brown and collaborators at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are now interested in finding people in the area who heard or saw the fireball; as well meeting people who find any meteorites.
Meteorites are distinct because they’re magnetic, dark, scalloped and feel heavier than a normal rock. Researchers are advising people who find them to place them in a plastic bag or foil to preserve their integrity.
In Canada, meteorites belong to the owner of the land where the pieces fell. So he and his colleagues at Western University hope anyone who finds a fragment will contact Kim Tait at the ROM, so researchers can examine them.
“Meteorites are of great interest to researchers as studying them helps us to understand the formation and evolution of the solar system,” Brown said.