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Experts analyse unique meteorite falling in east Bohemia

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Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, May 17 (CTK) – A unique meteorite from east Bohemia, one of few whose trajectory is exactly known, has been analysed by experts, Pavel Suchan, from the Science Academy’s Astronomical Institute, told CTK on the first anniversary of the meteorite’s fall on Wednesday.

The meteorite is only the fifth in the Czech Republic and 30th in the world whose previous route through the Solar System and the Earth’s atmosphere has been successfully measured by astronomical devices.

It weighs 134 grammes and bears the name of Hradec Kralove, after the capital of the region where it fell and was found by a meteorite hunter.

Out of the world’s 30 cases of meteorites with an exactly described route, the Czech Astronomical Institute experts assisted fully or significantly in the complete description of 17 cases. They have been the world’s most successful team so far in this respect, Suchan said.

The first such meteorite was described by Czech astronomers on April 7, 1959, he said.

Suchan said the Hradec Kralove meteorite is what has remained of a larger interplanetary body, a meteoroid, weighing 90 kilograms and with a diameter of 40 centimetres.

The astronomers observed its flight through the atmosphere in the form of a shining bolide after 03:00 on May 17, 2016.

A number of people reacted to the astronomers’ appeal and started searching for the meteorite in the fields with grown up vegetation and a thick forest between the Cisteves and Benatky villages.

Finally, Miroslav Marsik found it in a rapeseed field on July 30. However, he reported the find to the astronomers only on March 22, 2017, citing his fear that they might take the meteorite away from him.

His fear was unjustified. Czech legislation does not contain any rules applying to meteorite finders, Suchan said.

The meteorite is reminiscent of a black stone, exactly corresponding to how a meteorite should look like. The place where it was found corresponds to the area the experts predicted for its fall, Suchan said.

The astronomers borrowed the meteorite for analyses. They found out that it is a chondrite, which is a stone meteorite. Unlike iron meteorites, it could not be found by means of a metal detector.

The astronomers separated a 22-gramme part of the meteorite to keep it for scientific purposes and they returned the rest to Marsik.

A certification process followed, ending on May 10 when Hradec Kralove was put in the official database of meteorites administered by the International Meteorite Collectors Association.

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