The search is on for a meteor that is believed to have penetrated the atmosphere and landed somewhere in western NSW, according to astronomers in Coonabarabran and Bathurst.
On March 15 around 8.45pm a meteor, larger than a cricket ball could have landed somewhere near Lake Cargelligo and was spotted by people from Nyngan, Narromine, Gilgandra, Tottenham and other places in Western NSW.
Coonabarabran astronomer Robert McNaught is going in search for the meteor that could have landed in western NSW and is relying on eye witness accounts to help with his research.
“Rarely a large rock will penetrate much lower (towards the earth’s surface) and being rather brighter they are referred to as fireballs. Such rocks can survive passage through the atmosphere and fall to the ground as meteorites,” he said.
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“It appears one such object appeared in the south western sky from Coonabarabran and was recorded on cameras operated by myself and colleague Andre Phillips. A third recording was from a camera in Mudgee where it appeared more in the western sky.”
Dr McNaught has appealed to people throughout the region and beyond to see if they saw or caught anything on camera on the night of March 15. Something which could help them discover if and where the meteor landed.
Ray Pickard of Bathurst Observatory has also been collecting visual reports from eye-witness around southern-western NSW.
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It is clear to the experts, due to calculations, that the fireball had ended near Lake Cargelligo.
“With information from Ray, the fireball ended by splitting into several fragments and fading out, this was all strong evidence that meteorites had fallen to the ground,” Dr McNaught said.
The astronomer said if they were able to locate the meteor they could study ancient comet behaviour. Dr McNaught and Dr Phillips have travelled to Lark Cargelligo to conduct eye-witness interviews but are seeking more information.