A meteorite fell down in New South Wales

From: Řyvind Stangenes (oyvind_stangenes@hotmail.com)
Date: Thu Jun 17 2004 - 07:21:48 EDT

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    June 17 (Bloomberg) -- A meteorite ``the size of a house'' fell on the New South Wales state southern coast on Wednesday, according to a police report that cited a motorist.

    A motorist reported seeing the meteorite fall from the sky near Bulli, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Sydney, at 9 p.m. Sydney time, said a police spokeswoman who didn't want to be named.

    Sydney Airports Corp. confirmed there was a meteorite around that time heading in a southerly direction, the police spokeswoman said in an interview.

    Vince Ford, an astronomical research officer at Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, said the man may have seen a meteorite, although it wouldn't have been the size of a house.

    ``If it was the size of a house, it would have left a 3- kilometer wide crater,'' Ford said. ``He has probably seen a rocky meteorite, the size of a tennis ball, that exploded about 10 kilometers up in the atmosphere and left a spectacular blaze behind it.''

    A 1.3 kilogram (2.9 pound) meteorite, or chunk of an asteroid, plummeted through the roof of a home in Auckland, New Zealand Saturday, the Sunday Star Times reported.

    More than 400 metric tons of meteoric material fall from space each day, Ford said.

    ``Ninety-nine percent of that material would only be the size of a grain of sand, your normal shooting star,'' Ford said. ``You get occasional bigger ones, fist-sized, and these can be brighter than the full moon with a trail that stretches halfway across the sky.''



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