Space enthusiasts scour southern Ontario for meteorites
Published Sunday, March 23, 2014 9:56PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 23, 2014 9:57PM EDT
Curious minds gathered in the fields of St. Thomas, Ont. on Sunday in search of something truly out of this world.
Armed with keen eyes and magnets fixed to sticks, a group of 20 searchers combed the fields of St. Thomas, hunting for meteorite fragments experts believe may have recently landed in the area.
On Tuesday, scientists at Western University in London, Ont. caught images of a fiery meteoroid blazing through the night sky as it hurtled its way towards Earth.
The fireball, estimated to be about the size of a basketball, was first spotted in Port Dover and then “went dark” over St. Thomas.
Since then, scientists have been organizing search parties to find pieces of the fallen rock, a difficult task considering some of the fragments are believed to be the size of a human thumb.
“I’ve never found anything in Ontario. I’ve been in other searches that were successful, but never here,” searcher Patrick Herrmann told CTV Kitchener.
The mammoth task, combined with the frigid weather, hasn’t deterred Herrmann and others from their search.
“If one of the people finds something, it’s exciting for everyone,” Herrmann said.
Experts say the fragments, which look like matte black rocks, could help unlock mysteries from 13.6 billion years ago.
“Whatever type of meteorite it is, we’ll learn something more from this simply because we have a context for it in our solar system,” researcher Phil McCausland told CTV Kitchener.
“Basically the first few years of when the solar system was forming,” he said.
In Canada, meteorites belong to the owner of the land on which they are found and while a meteorite fragment can fetch up to $100,000, scientists say the knowledge they may gain from such discoveries is priceless.
With a report from CTV Kitchener’s Max Wark.