Cross this off the bucket list this weekend: meteorite hunting.
The Michigan Meteor that lit up and rumbled across Ann Arbor’s night sky Tuesday is now on the ground in pieces just waiting to be found.
The National Weather Service had this to say about that meteor: “From Illinois to Ontario, the entire region was able to view the spectacular flash from Detroit Metro’s meteor on Tuesday night. Along with NASA, NWS Detroit suspects that debris from the meteor was detected about 10,000 feet above the ground near Hamburg, which is annotated here. Here are some more facts about your meteor.”
The exciting news for Ann Arbor meteorite enthusiasts is that the heavenly body that is estimated to have exploded about 20 miles over earth rained its galactical debris right into our back yard. Robert Ward, a freelance planetary field researcher (meteorite hunter) for different scientific institutions heard of the meteor and came to the area in search of fragments. In just a short while, he found three on a frozen lake in Hamburg Township.
It’s a great time to take advantage of the mild weather this weekend and get out to Brighton State Recreation Area and other area public parks and lands in the area for a “meteorite hunt.” Even if for a short while, it will be a memory for the kids as well as some fresh air and movement.
But if you do find some meteorite, it can also be worth a bit of gold. Christie’s Auction House in New York is offering $20,000 for a kilo of meteorite. All the meteorites known to have ever been collected is less than the annual output of mined gold.
The best way to hunt for meteorite fragments is with a metal detector since they have iron in their content. But experts say if you don’t have a metal detector, you can still have a lot of fun searching by just keeping your eye on the natural topography. Snow can be a help locating fragments with any out of place holes that look like they might have been made, say, from a stone falling from the sky. Meteorite is dark and unexpectedly heavy from the iron.
Bring your toilet tank top along with you on your hunt. If you find a what might be a piece of meteor, apparently if you scratch it along the inside of your toilet tank top it will tell you if you have the real thing – some kind of interaction with the unglazed material of toilets. If your scratch leaves a streak (no jokes please), its not meteorite. If it doesn’t leave a streak, its iron from the sky. And if the test doesn’t work at all, you have a good story and can blame Paul Gross of WDIV.
It was recently discovered that King Tut’s iron dagger wasn’t actually iron. It is made from meteorite, which answers the question as to how they got an iron dagger before anyone knew how to smelt iron. Back in the day, waaay back in the day, the ancient Egyptians figured the gods were having a bit of fun with them and referred to meteorite as “iron from the sky.”
The National Weather Service Forecast for Ann Arbor this weekend is: “Temperatures will moderate through the upcoming weekend with highs in the 40s both Saturday and Sunday. While much of this period will be dry, precipitation chances begin to increase late in the weekend and especially by Sunday Night and Monday.”
It’s a great moment to take advantage of, and have some fun!
And let us know if you find anything!