A daytime fireball that occurred over Natchez, Mississippi this past Wednesday morning April 27th, 2022 resulted in a meteorite recovery three days later.
Reports of booms and bright lights in the sky hit social media Wednesday morning and started flowing into the American Meteor Society’s online fireball tracking tool.
Using the time and location for the event provided by the AMS, amateur fireball researcher Eric Rasmussen looked over NOAA’s Doppler NEXRAD weather radar and saw something suspicious near the time and place of the fireball.
A large cloud appeared and then disappeared near the end of the fireball’s path right after the event occurred. This cloud was found in data from three different NEXRAD radar stations.
NASA said the exceptionally bright meteor was going 35,000 mph (scientists previously estimated it was traveling at 55,000 mph) when it exploded in the sky near the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
“There are confirmed reports of meteorites being found in the area east of Natchez,” NASA said.
Rasmussen consulted with NASA Scientist and meteorite expert Marc Fries about the event, and they concluded the NEXRAD data was in fact evidence of meteorites falling to the ground.
The map below illustrates a summary of the meteorite fall and available information.
The red and black trajectory is the current AMS trajectory plotted using available witness data and computed by the automated software. The white line is a reconstructed trajectory based on the GLM data, derived from a summary posted by William Cooke at the NASA MEO.
The background grid is the result of AMS’s custom radar scanning software, a collaborative work in progress.
Red and orange show areas of highest weather volatility. Meteorites for this fall so far have all been found under the red areas indicated in this map.
Here some pictures…
Living just under 300 miles away from the fall area Marc set out as soon as he could and was in the field Saturday. His wife Linda Welzenbach Fries found the first meteorite later that day at 2:45pm. Marc found a second a few hours later. These are the only known meteorites that were recovered before the rain later that night.
Meteorite hunters from around the country have arrived since then and more finds have been made. We were aware of 3 total as of Sunday night and at least 12 meteorite hunters searching.
The land is mostly covered in thick woods, so hunters have been focused on public roads and grassy areas near these. The fall likely produced a lot of material based on the radar returns and the number of quick finds found on roads.
Unfortunately, most of the land is covered by thick woods, which makes meteorite recovery in these areas almost impossible. Initial visual review of the material suggests the meteorite is a type H ordinary chondrite consisting of at least two lithologies. [AMS Meteor]
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