Meteor breaks up above Marana, researchers look for remnants - News - Explorer

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Meteor breaks up above Marana, researchers look for remnants

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J.D. Fitzgerald/The Explorer

Robert Ward, a Volunteer Planetary Sciences Field Researcher with the Chicago Field Museum is one of those searching for meteorite pieces in Northwest Tucson.

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Around 7:11 p.m. Dec.10, a large meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere northeast of Phoenix and broke up over Marana according to a researcher from Prescott.

The meteor caused multiple sonic booms in the northwest area and shook windows of area homes.

The meteor is believed to have come from the Geminid Meteor Shower and there have been 42 sighting reports from the American Meteor Society. It was seen all the way from Phoenix to Flagstaff, and as far away as Las Vegas.

A largely viewed video, which was taken with a man's dashcam as he was driving near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, captured the bright light in the sky gave those who missed the show an opportunity to see it.

Currently, a team of scientists are on the hunt for pieces and chunks of this meteor around North Linda Vista Road and North Linda Vista Pl.

Robert Ward, a Volunteer Planetary Sciences Field Researcher with the Chicago Field Museum is one of those searching for the pieces in Northwest Tucson. He drove down on Dec. 11 from Prescott after receiving information about the event from NASA.

The freelance hunters use doppler radar that measure reflection and changes in velocity to determine where meteorites might have fallen. They then take that data and compare it to Google Maps, which helps them determine a GPS location. From there, they search the areas blocked out from their maps.

Bob Haag, a Marana resident and private hunter went out to look for meteorites and brought along one that he found a few years back to show what residents should be looking for.

"The meteorites could have went through roofs or landed in backyards and it's important for locals to search for them," said Ward.

They are described as a dense and heavy rock with rounded edges and a black fusion crust with a dark grey interior, and are also magnetic.

Ward and a team of ex-military freelance meteorite hunters will spend the next week scanning and searching the land. Though they are limited to public lands, they are asking for landowners to help.

A tool to use is a strong refrigerator magnet because it will be attracted to most meteorites.

If you find a rock that fits the description, email a clear photograph of the suspected stone to Ward at ironfromthesky@gmail.com.

The Geminid meteor shower can best be viewed from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. local time, which will peak Friday, Dec. 13.

3 images

J.D. Fitzgerald/The Explorer

Robert Ward, a Volunteer Planetary Sciences Field Researcher with the Chicago Field Museum is one of those searching for meteorite pieces in Northwest Tucson.

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