Third fragment (weighting about 2 chocolate bars) of the Winchcombe meteorite found by Mira Ihasz (credit: Mira Ihasz).
Third fragment (weighting about 2 chocolate bars) of the Winchcombe meteorite found by Mira Ihasz (credit: Mira Ihasz).

The UK finds its first meteorite in 30 years

March 09, 2021

The UK Fireball Network scores a carbonaceous chondrite!

Dr Luke Daly, holding the precious sample, in full covid-ready meteorite searching attire (credit: Mira Ihasz)
Dr Luke Daly, holding the precious sample, in full covid-ready meteorite searching attire (credit: Mira Ihasz)

Several fragments of a pristine meteorite were recovered near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, following a bright fireball that was observed by thousands of people on the night of Feb 28th, 2021. The full UK fireball alliance was activated, and fireball observation data from several network was combined to determine a trajectory: the UK Fireball Network’s Global Fireball Observatory cameras, SCAMP/FRIPON, the UK meteor network, and NEMETODE. The efficient data sharing between the different groups was made possible thanks Jim Rowe. He put into practice the work he has been doing over the past few months to achieve inter-operability between the different fireball observations efforts (see presentation at EPSC). The Desert Fireball Network team at Curtin calculated the trajectory, ran detailed weather modelling, and predicted a strewn field. But the first meteorite was found by a member of the public even before the strewn field was made public, with the first fragment landing ~400 m from the calculated fall line.

The fireball captured by the UKFN camera at Lincoln (credit: Sarah McMullan, UKFN, Global Fireball Observatory)
The fireball captured by the UKFN camera at Lincoln (credit: Sarah McMullan, UKFN, Global Fireball Observatory)

Everybody in the GFO collaboration is chuffed with the discovery, as this is the first meteorite success outside Australia since Creston was recovered in California in 2015!

Over the next few weeks, the team will refine the trajectory calculations in order to determine the origin of the rock in the Solar System.

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