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Winchcombe Meteor update

8 August 2023
Astronomy, Geology

An update on the Winchcombe meteor that landed on the driveway of a house in Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. It is currently housed in the Natural History Museum at Kensington – which has research facilities – see https://phys.org/news/2023-08-winchcombe-meteorite-scientists-asteroids.html … It is though the meteorite had an origin in the asteroid belt – an asteroid broken apart by a collision in space. It dropped out of the sky over England and caused a  bit of a stir at the time. Scientists at the museum have been analysing its properties. Being a carbonaceous chondrite it has been intriguing as these are thought to go back to the early universe. It is rich in clays and other water bearing rocks. In that way it has similarities with comets – but I suppose there is resistance to the idea it came from a comet as they are regarded as being formed somewhat differently. It also had an abundance of iron, and mercury was in reasonable quantities. The full paper would be more informative. See https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.14043

The Perseid meteor shower is about to reach its peak on August 13th. One to watch in the dark but a long way from street lighting. It is recommended that you lay down on a blanket and  just look straight up at the sky, to avoid crook kneck. Or crock kneck. These streaks in the sky are quite different from the meteor, above. They are pea sized dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle – described as a river of rubble. Material left behind by an outgassing comet, a stream of dust and debris that is still not dispersed too greatly and therefore provides a show at certain times in the calendar. This might bve a good year for shooting stars.

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