The police and the punctured wheel: how to search for meteorites in Russia

The police and the punctured wheel: how to search for meteorites in Russia

Like looking for meteorites in Russia and why this hobby can be accompanied by a call to the police and punctured tires, “Газете.Ru” told the participants of the recent search in the Lipetsk region Mikhail Semenov and Alexey Kiristaev.

Our meteor team consists of two people: Michael and Alexis, we are not professional meteoritics, and fans. The first interest in this subject originated before the fall of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, when we attempted to find a fragment is widely known in narrow circles Konisskogo meteorite in the Ryazan region (the meteor rain weighing hundreds of kilograms, fell under gasymovym more than 1000 years ago), then we were not lucky and we came back with nothing.

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Then there was a well-known fall Chelyabinsk meteorite, the work is not allowed to run for a place in February, but at the end of April we already were in place and managed to find 14 pieces near the village of Deputy, then we realized that the stones from the sky can be found. Moreover, we have the experience and understanding of what it takes. Then there was an unsuccessful trip in search of a meteorite of Annam on the Kola Peninsula, a successful trip to Dronino, with the discovery of two small fragments of this meteorite, meteorites after a bright fireball under Arzamas in the summer of 2017. We’ve been monitoring the Internet for reports of bright fireballs and waited for the right drop.

And then, finally, it happened.

I learned about the car over the Lipetsk region a day after the fall (which occurred early on the morning of 21 June 2018), by reading a message of Alexey sent by night, and came to work, looking at the site “Astroforum”. Was immediately struck by the brightness of the car shot on DVR on a bright Sunny morning and the fact that he was crushed into fragments, giving hope for a meteor shower. After some discussion with Alexis, we decided that we should leave immediately.

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So we leave in the evening. But where to look? It is not clear… the Calculation of the crash site for photos of the witnesses and the testimony of DVRs — it’s a job that requires figuring out the location and azimuth for various phases of the event. Multiple reliable observation points with azimuth allow you to set event location, altitude, speed. We’ve done this work on cars over the Crimea, Kola Peninsula, Sayan, Arzamas, but this time there was a feeling that it is necessary to understand on a place. The starting point of searches taking the projection of the track of the car, taken by a weather satellite on the map, it was a promising place of the settlement Shilovo on the river krasivaya Mecha.

Dawn arrived, looked around, and interviewed fishermen in Shilovo, who confirmed that at dawn they heard a rumbling which shook the glass in the houses, rattled dishes. Their version of events was the following: “Putin Is “Dagger” experiences, what are meteorites, that you say, and we know…” (“the Dagger” — the hypersonic missile). In General, residents of the Lipetsk region because of its proximity to the aviation center named after V. P. Chkalov prone to these sorts of interpretations of heavenly phenomena and noise.

Suddenly comes the news: NASA on its website published the latest information: and some nearly 3 kilotons!

Information about the car is transferred to NASA from the U.S. military, who are observing the entire area of the globe with a network of spy satellites, the main purpose of which is the tracking of ballistic missile launches, the fixation of powerful explosions.

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NASA coordinates almost coincide with the estimates on “Astroforum”. All this time, these comrades worked hard bound video recorders and photographs to the terrain and reached in his work, significant progress. The estimated point of impact was 50 km to the South. We rushed there. At the same time there arrived at least two teams: Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg (URFU) and the Institute of the Vernadsky Institute of Moscow in collaboration with Timur Kryachko.

Moving to the South. At about two o’clock we in the area of Ozerki — Polish. Searched in the following way: every 300-500 meters, stopped the car and examined the road forward and backward in the direction of motion possible surrounding woods, fields. Other search parties have acted in the same way or looking for “the wheel,” slowly moving along rural roads and carefully examining the road ahead, hoping to stumble on large fragments. Unfortunately we were not quite where fell the meteor shower is literally a 2-5 kilometers from the coveted field.

We are not alone was wrong — the team of the Ural Federal UNIVERSITY was initially sure that according to their calculations, the crash site is near the village of Poland.

During our research, we met with other teams, exchanged contacts and agreed to share information, but as time went on, and finds. If you’ve seen the locals — talk with them. However, the witness we have found. Many, if not all, woke up by the noise, but only a few have observed the phenomenon, it was mostly the drivers on the track.

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In the evening we gradually withdrew through the maze of dirt roads to the North-West of the village of Ozerki and spent the night in the forest in a tent.

Morning. Make the decision to search the triangle Residential — Polish — Ozerki, this triangle had the point of NASA. And again, as it turned out, it was a mistake — the place was literally falling 3 km North-East from the middle of this triangle. Over the fruitless search went another day, after lunch, came a message of “Astroforum”, our friend on the results of their calculations are recommended to move to the line of Zlobino lakes.