Patient hunters find more meteorites from California fall

Two photos of the 6g oriented meteorite from the California fall last Sunday. The left image shows the backside with frothy "lipping" around the edges from melted rock; inset at right shows the smooth, rounded front side plus another smaller fragment. Thanks and credit to: Mike Farmer

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 T-shirt celebrating the fall of the meteorite some are calling Sutter's Mill. Thanks and credit to: Greg Hupe

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.

Watch the moon to glide by the bright lights Mars and Regulus in Leo tonight and tomorrow night. Created with Stellarium

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.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

10 thoughts on “Patient hunters find more meteorites from California fall

  1. I saw the meteorite that fell a few Sundays ago. I was driving into Las Vegas on the 215 going East around 7 am. I never seen anything like it! At first I thought it was a missile or bomb or something like that. It had a long firey tail and a big head I guess its called. I waited for an explosion, then I thought I wonder if that was a meteorite? It hit very close on the mountain side on my left near the radio antennae. Then a week later in my local paper in Bullhead City, AZ I saw your article. I was so excited! I saw it! Anyway, wanted to share with you in case you want to go looking in the area. :)

  2. hi i am a meteorites collector and worker of fossils from morocco we have defferent meteorites for sale if you are intersted contact me as soon as possible.

  3. My husband recently found a very heavy small rock, we estimate that it weighs about 5 pounds, and the rock is magnetic. We live in Southern CA and would like to know where we could get this rock checked out. Do you know?
    Thank you.

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