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Oops! "Meteorite" is just a rock

NASA-linked scientist changes his mind after examining the rock under a petrographic microscope.

After a fireball streaked across the Bay Area sky last Wednesday evening, scientists and locals alike have been on the hunt for pieces of the meteor that is believed to have made landfall in the Bay Area.
  
Tuesday the meteor astronomer with the SETI Institute who reported over the weekend that the first piece of the meteor was found after it hit the roof of a Novato home clarified that the suspected meteorite discovered there is actually a natural rock.
  
Dr. Peter Jenniskens with the SETI Institute said on his NASA Ames
Research Center webpage Tuesday the house of administrative nurse at the University of California at San Francisco Lisa Webber was hit by something during the fireball's descent last Wednesday evening, but the meteorite remains elusive.
  
After an examination using a petrographic microscope Monday, Jenniskens was able to conclude the rock was not a meteorite.
  
He wrote Tuesday, "I sincerely thought it was, based on what appeared to me was remnant fusion crust. On closer inspection, that crust was a product of weathering of a natural rock, not from the heat of entry."
  
The 2-inch rock is 63 grams, dense and responds to a magnet, according to information from the SETI Institute, a nonprofit scientific and education organization that has projects sponsored by NASA and other foundations and research groups.
  
On the heels of this news, the search for the first meteorite from Wednesday's meteor continues on.
  
Chabot Space and Science Center astronomer Jonathan Braidman explained that last Wednesday's meteor came from a crash of two asteroids that usually wouldn't be headed for Earth.
  
"When there's a collision that's when you get some interesting trajectories," Braidman said.
  
On the NASA Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance project, cameras in Sunnyvale and at San Mateo College captured two views of the fireball. Scientists were able to calculate a trajectory and project a fall area in the North Bay, from east of San Rafael over to Novato and beyond toward Sonoma and Napa counties.
  
NASA is asking the public to share any footage of the meteor that fell over the Bay Area last Wednesday at 7:44 p.m. and created sonic booms.

--Bay City News


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