Here a gram, there a gram, the hunt goes on. Lots of people are out looking for freshly-crusted black rocks in the hills of northern California near Sutter’s Mill, where gold was first discovered in California in 1848. The gold rush is on … again! It’s been a week since the fall, but I’ve not heard of any large space rocks found yet. Meteorite hunter Mike Farmer purchased a lovely, unbroken rock weighing 6 grams or about a fifth of an ounce found by another hunter.
The shape shows classic orientation, a result of the meteorite’s flight through the atmosphere. As it fell to Earth at supersonic speed, it stabilized with one face forward in flight. Heat from friction with the air fashioned the piece into a miniature nose cone with a rounded front side and flat back. Oriented meteorites are prized by collectors and scientists alike. They freeze the fury of atmospheric entry into a works of art.
A local artist in the area has already designed a T-shirt for the occasion of the fall. No country beats the U.S. when it comes to marketing brilliance. If you’d interested in buying one, please let me know via the Comments link (below) and I’ll send you a contact and price. Only a few are left.
Click HERE for another story about a woman who found a meteorite while walking her dog in Lotus Park in nearby Lotus, Calif.
If it’s clear in your town tonight, a bright moon just a day past first quarter or a little more than half will shine high in the south at nightfall.
Can you still see the moon’s “other” half? It’s the eerie glow called earthshine that’s obvious during crescent phase when the sunlit portion of the moon is smaller and less glary. Give it a look tonight and you might be surprised. Be sure to use binoculars or a telescope though, since the earthlit half is much fainter now than a few nights ago. The waxing moon passes just under Mars and Leo’s Regulus tomorrow night.