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Owen is on the hunt for space rock in Rockhampton

Owen Bennedick from Wappa Falls Observatory is excited about one of the best meteor showers in a decade will be in the sky this weekend.
Owen Bennedick from Wappa Falls Observatory is excited about one of the best meteor showers in a decade will be in the sky this weekend. Patrick Woods

DO you have a piece of meteorite in your backyard?

WAPPA Falls Observatory owner and founder Owen Bennedick will be in Rockhampton tomorrow to investigate reports of space rocks in the area after a "suspected meteor" exploded over Gladstone on September 26.

Mr Bennedick said the event shook the ground for around 100sqkm and caused a "bit of a raucous" with residents.

"It was felt as far as Calliope. It was seen as far north as Mackay and as far south as the Sunshine Coast. It as a huge area, so whatever it was it was very large," he said.

"There was definitely no chance of it being a piece of space junk, it came in too steep an angle, and outside of it the colour was wrong.

"So we definitely know it was nothing to do with a satellite, and most meteors don't put on that sort of show so that is what we call a NEA (Near-Earth Asteroid)."

Mr Bennedick said he was chasing a third piece which might have landed in Rockhampton, after the main body of the rock was left over Gladstone.

"It sounds like it has come in and split up. Or three pieces were travelling together, which is not uncommon," he said.

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"Meteor pieces are normally a dark colour because they are burnt going through the atmosphere.

"These get between 6000 and 9000 degrees.

"If you do find a piece it is likely to be magnetic, so if you can use an old magnet of some description it should stick."

Mr Bennedick is looking for any venues looking to volunteer space in Rockhampton tomorrow, to allow him to hold a public showing of meteorite and moon pieces from his collection.

He is also asking for anyone who might have information about the September event to contact him directly.

Mr Bennedick can be called on 0427 467 944.

FAST FACTS:

What Are The Differences Between An Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite?

Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.

Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.

Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.

Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.

Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface.

(Source: NASA)



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