Search on for Space rock

CALGARY – The search is on for the remains of a meteor photographed in the sky southeast of Banff.

The picture was taken last month by amateur photographer, Brett Abernethy, from Calgary.

Visual verification of the fireball was confirmed by two other sources, so scientists at the U. of C. set out to triangulate its path using stars as reference points.

They’ve narrowed the landing zone to about 15 square kilometers in the East Kootenays.

Alan Hildebrand is a Planetary Scientist with the U. of C. He says space rocks are important because they can reveal clues about our universe.

“Going back in time to when the solar system started out is one of the motivators. We know there are types of asteroids out there we don’t have samples from.”

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“We don’t know what kind of material this is, but it could be new stuff that we don’t have in collections at all… we certainly know it’s rare material.”

While many meteors burn up as they enter the planet’s atmosphere, some arrive with a bang.

About six years ago a meteor lit up the sky before it landed in a coulee near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

While finding those meteorites was easy, locating space rocks in the Rocky Mountains could be challenging.

Lincoln Hanton is a research assistant with the U. of C.

“With all the snow we’ve received since December 20th, it would make it a lot more difficult. Hoping once the snow melts in the spring, we’ll be able to make a trip out there and maybe recover something.”

Scientists may have to wait until May or June for enough snow to melt to make a search for the meteorites worthwhile.

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