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Meteroids, meteors and meterorites are studied by Astronomy and Astrophysics departments in Universities across Aotearoa New Zealand. Here is some basic information and the researchers behind this matauranga:

What is a fireball?

How to find a meteorite

Fast Facts

  • About 70,000 meteorites have been found world-wide
  • Only about 50 of these 70,000 were photographed as they arrived as a fireball
  • Meteor camera networks photograph incoming meteors from multiple locations
  • Capturing fireballs on multiple cameras allows the meteor’s path through the atmosphere to be calculated accurately
  • From this, the meteorite’s likely landing point can be estimated
  • This helps us find it before it gets rained on or very contaminated (most meteorites are discovered too late for studies of volatile characteristics of meteors)
  • As an example of the success of this strategy, the Winchcombe, UK, meteorite of 28th February 2021 was recovered
  • The object’s orbit before hitting the Earth can also be calculated
  • With a freshly-recovered object and a calculation of where in the solar system it came from we can learn much about our solar system
  • Also, the meteorite’s strength, density and composition can be compared with its path through the atmosphere to learn more about the physics of meteorite and comet impacts