Meteorites might be more likely to strike near the equator

Friday, May 29, 2020 - 05:10 in Astronomy & Space

Geoffrey Evatt was snowmobiling in Antarctica when he spotted an outlandish feature. A black rock stood so starkly against the diamantine ice that even the untrained eye would have known it was not from this world, but a meteorite. “You’ll never get over that high of finding the first one,” he says. Not that it was unexpected. Before heading to Antarctica, Evatt, an applied mathematician at the University of Manchester in England, and his colleagues calculated where they might find the alien rocks. Two summers spent snaking up and down their chosen spot netted 120 in total — matching their prediction and giving them the confidence to use their calculations (plus additional ones of fireball trajectories) to create a global tally. The results, reported online April 29 in Geology, reveal that more than 17,000 impacts occur across the globe every year, with the majority of meteorites hitting low latitudes. “The punchline is that if you want to go and see these fireballs streaking across the...

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