By Dr Luke Daly and Ms Sarah McMullan
On the 16th February 2020 at 9:51 pm GMT the UK fireball network which forms a part of the Global Fireball Observatory saw its first meteorite dropping fireball! The 16th February 2020 meteorite dropping fireball event captured by the UKFN cameras in Lincoln and Cambridge. The final mass of the meteorite would have been on the order of a few 10s of grams - an excellent target for a recovery expedition. However, sadly this space rock landed between the Netherlands and the UK, directly in the North Sea.
We were however able to calculate the orbit for this unfortunate extraterrestrial visitor revealing that it originated from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. At its closest point to the sun, it was only fractionally less than one astronomical unit; it only just reached inside Earth’s orbit - We were lucky to capture it at all, but unlucky that it is now deep down in Davy Jones’ locker.
The UK Fireball Network is run by Ms Sarah McMullan and Dr Luke Daly of Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow respectively. You can read more about this story here and listen to the team talk about the project on a recent appearance on BBC radio 4’s podcast Inside Science. Finally, if you are interested in volunteering as a citizen scientist for the UK Fireball Network to help them search for and recover the first meteorite fall in the UK for 30 years you can sign up to our mailing list.