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Scientists Ask Brits To Avoid Touching Bits Of Meteor Which May Have Landed In UK

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Scientists Ask Brits To Avoid Touching Bits Of Meteor Which May Have Landed In UK

Scientists have asked Brits to avoid touching bits of meteor which has landed in the UK and it's not for what you might think.

This comes after a 'spectacular meteor fireball' was said to have dropped over parts of England and Wales last week. Watch below:

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Despite the scary-sounding terminology, the Meteor showers, which are pretty harmless, began crashing down nearby the town of Bridgend, in south Wales, according to scientists from the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll). 

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Footage of the fireball has since been circling around social media after it was seen at 00:40 BST on Thursday, 12 May.

It was recorded by more than 25 meteor cameras coordinated by the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll) as well as several security cameras and dashcams belonging to members of the public.

A vast number of reports of the meteor were made by the public across the UK. Credit: UKFAll
A vast number of reports of the meteor were made by the public across the UK. Credit: UKFAll

Eyewitnesses also reported loud, thunder-like rumbles following the event – sonic booms as a result of the meteoroid’s rapid passage through the lower atmosphere.

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Dr Jana Horák from the National Museum Cardiff and a member of UKFAll said: "About 20 kg of rock from an asteroid entered the atmosphere at nearly 30 km/s.

"Most of that rock vaporised in the atmosphere within seconds, but we calculate that maybe 100 grams survived and landed in an area north of Bridgend.

This is the fall area of the meteor. Credit: UKFAll
This is the fall area of the meteor. Credit: UKFAll

"Looking for rocks smaller than an apple in Bridgend and the surrounding hills and woods is like looking for a needle in a haystack, so we’re asking people if they’ve found anything interesting or unusual over the weekend.

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"It’s probably a glossy black or brown colour, maybe with the dark fusion crust broken off in places, but it won’t appear spongy or bubbly."

And now, a scientist at the Natural History Museum in London has revealed why Brits should refrain from picking up the shiny rock... but it's not what you might initially think.

Dr Ashley King of the Planetary Materials Group said: "The meteorite won’t be hot and is as safe to handle as any other rock but, if possible, please don’t pick it up with your bare hands as that will contaminate the stone.

Many members of the public were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the meteor which struck Earth's surface on 12 May. Credit: UKFAll
Many members of the public were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the meteor which struck Earth's surface on 12 May. Credit: UKFAll
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"Also don’t test it with a magnet, as this could destroy valuable information.

"It may be in a place where rocks aren’t usually found, like on a lawn or footpath.

"Don’t take any risks looking for it, and don’t go into areas where you shouldn’t. But if you have found something out-of-place within the calculated fall area, we’ll certainly be interested to check it out."

If you think you’ve found a piece of last week’s meteorite fall, then please send a photo and coordinates of the location to [email protected].

Featured Image Credit: UKFAll

Topics: Space, UK News

Anish Vij
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