CHICAGO -- Five U.S. academic institutions will share parts of a rare meteorite that exploded in a fireball over California last year.

The Field Museum said Wednesday that the meteor dates to the early formation of the solar system 4 to 5 billion years ago. It was probably about the size of a minivan when it entered the Earth's atmosphere in April 2012.

The Smithsonian cut the meteorite into five sections that will go to five institutions: The Field Museum in Chicago; the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington; the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.; and the University of California-Davis.

Scientists plan to use the pieces for research. They used a CT scan to determine the meteor's age and chemical composition.