Today, two cosmic visitors made the news around the globe today, February 15, 2013. First, this morning an unexpected visitor blazed through the mid-morning sky of Russia near the city of Chelyabinsk. It produced a spectacular fireball accompanied by a shockwave that resulted in a sonic boom. The shockwave made windows shatter which resulted in injuries to hundreds of people. It is very unusual that meteorite falls cause injuries. To date there is no documented case of a human casualty caused by a meteorite although some injuries have been reported from previous falls.
The Field Museum has acquired six pieces of an extremely important Martian meteorite that was hurled into space about 700,000 years ago when Mars collided with an asteroid.
From January 25-27, 2013 the Annual Presolar Grains Workshop was held in Chicago. At this informal gathering cosmochemists and astrophysicists met and talked about how the study of presolar grains can help improve our understanding of how stars work. The successful meeting was held with talks at the University of Chicago, a dinner at the Field Museum and tours through the labs and collection of the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies.
Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Dr. Philipp R. Heck is co-author on a paper in the journal Science on the first results of the rare meteorite, Sutter’s Mill. On April 22 a very fast-moving fireball was observed over large parts of California and Nevada. Equivalent to four kilotons of TNT, the fireball was photographed, and recorded by video and by weather Doppler-radars. The photographs and videos helped to trace back its orbit to the far reaches of the outer part of the asteroid belt.
Please check out our blogs and photos from our field work in Antarctica. For our expedition we are part of the Russian Antarctic Expedition and are also collaborating with the Geological Survey of India. Learn more at our Expeditions@FieldMuseum site.