How much a piece of Michigan meteorite could be worth and how to identify it against a rock
DETROIT (WJBK) - Since 8 pm Tuesday, Metro Detroit has been a buzz with talk of the meteor, whether you saw and heard it or not. Now, the hunt is on for meteorite fragments, which can be valuable if it's the right material.
The cargo van-sized meteor entered the atmosphere over Michigan around 8 p.m. (ok, can we stop telling you that, you know that, right? Ok, moving on.)
According to NASA, the fireball entered the atmosphere just north of Brighton and landed just west of Howell.
NASA says the meteor is considered a slow-moving one at a measly 28,000 MPH.
"This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock at least a yard across), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by many observers)," NASA wrote.
NASA says its likely that there are meteorites on the ground near the area where it landed and you could find a piece, but don't expect to be a millionaire.
According to Meteorlab, common meteorites, which are iron, will fetch between $0.50 and $5.00 per gram. Stone meteorites are worth between $2.00 and $20 per gram but could exceed $1,000 per gram.
That means a one pound iron meteorite could be worth more than $2,000 while a one pound stone meteorite could get you $9,000.
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So how do you know if it's a meteorite? The Washington University in St. Louis put together this very handy flow chart to help answer your question. You may need to know what regmaglypts are to get the full answer.
The fireball, officially identified as a bolide, crashed into the atmosphere and sent people scrambling trying to figure out what happened. Despite being about the size of a van, it probably broke into much smaller pieces.
The sound of it entering the atmosphere and breakage explains the noises everyone heard, according to Michael Narlock, head of astronomy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.
"That was probably a sonic boom, or it could have been a sonic boom. Much like an aircraft passing by, when it breaks the sound barrier you get that boom. And that could have rattled houses. Or it could have been the sound of the break off - the explosion that people have been reporting," Narlock said.