February 9, 2016

"The hard, jagged object... dark blue and small enough to be held in a closed hand" fell from the sky and killed a man...

... in India:
The object slammed into the ground at an engineering college over the weekend, shattering a water cooler and sending splinters and shards flying....
It needs to be tested to determine if it's a meteorite or some man-made junk. 

26 comments:

Roughcoat said...

Wow. I guess when it's your time, it really is your time.

rehajm said...

airplane toilet waste is dark blue

Bob said...

At the entrance of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World is a tombstone:

Here Lies Good Old Fred
A Great Big Rock Fell On His Head.

Ann Althouse said...

"airplane toilet waste is dark blue"

Wouldn't that fairly quickly change from being hard?

William said...

I wouldn't mind being killed by a meteorite. Cosmic destiny leading to a quick, painless death.. What's not to like. The airplane waste kiss off is more troublesome. One last indignity in a lifetime of indignities. Bad luck as the final result of a series of banal occurrences. Not the movements of the heavens but rather bowel movements.

CStanley said...

Piece of a North Korean satellite?

Original Mike said...

"Jagged" doesn't sound like a meteorite, though the description might not be very accurate.

Quaestor said...

"Jagged" doesn't sound like a meteorite,

Ordinarily yes, but sometimes bolides shatter in the upper atmosphere so its possible a shard from an exploded carbonaceous chondrite could appear jagged, especially a small one.

The dark blue color is had to account for. I can't think of one I've seen, either in a museum or in photographs, that I'd describe as blue.

rehajm said...

Wouldn't that fairly quickly change from being hard?

You'd think so, wouldn't ya?

EDH said...

Ask Joe Dirt: "It ain't a meteor."

It's a chuck of shit. "Dang."

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_tOoLDFmltg&ebc=ANyPxKoOt7hB1tBNF_It1Rapun1l5AP2QdfrP0P3t9_Xf6XZHQEcmDukaerPzYbpWZAVST1x63re

rhhardin said...

Something from orbit wouldn't be going that fast and would have lots of time to slow down because it enters the atmosphere at a low angle.

This thing is small and still supersonic, so came in very fast and vertical.

Original Mike said...

Ordinarily yes, but sometimes bolides shatter in the upper atmosphere so its possible a shard from an exploded carbonaceous chondrite could appear jagged, especially a small one.

Yeah, that would be a mechanism to become jagged.

tim in vermont said...

I think the proximity of a large number of engineering students should be considered some kind of clue.

Original Mike said...

Good observation, Tim.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Yeah, the fact that it was at an engineering college tells me it was probably preceded by someone saying hold my beer and watch this...

Fritz said...

A very unlikely event. I wonder if he played the lottery?

Fritz said...

The dark blue color is had to account for. I can't think of one I've seen, either in a museum or in photographs, that I'd describe as blue.

Could be like heated steel, if it's an Fe-Ni meteorite.

Quaestor said...

Most of the meteorites I've seen were of iron or nickel-iron composition. This is because they tend to be larger than carbonaceous chondrites and they're much easier to find. Of those most were black or dark chocolate brown. Some were red from oxidation. The most rare form which I've seen seen in pictures, is pallasite which is a matrix of nickel-iron and the gemstone called olivine (magnesium iron silicate). These are translucent and can look like topaz or jade or even gold. Nothing blue, however.

Dr Weevil said...

I have seen the only meteorite known for certain to have struck a human being. That was Mrs. Hulitt Hodges, March 30, 1954, in Sylacauga, Alabama. It bounced a couple of times before hitting her, so the result was minor bruising and (I'm pretty sure) major hysteria. It's in the Alabama Natural History Museum in Tuscaloosa, and is very very black.

Quaestor said...

On a winter night in 1986 I saw a meteor fall. I was driving home from having tended a broodmare when a streak of greenish light, brighter than a searchlight passed from right to left across the road in front of me. I know it fell very close by because it passed into a grove of trees where the play of light, the silhouettes of the trees, and the anti-clockwise sweep of their shadows on the ground were quite dramatic. I estimated its speed at 90 to 150 mph. A tape was playing ("Thick As a Brick" as I recall) so I didn't hear anything. I knew the road well and the landmarks. I estimated it came to rest no more than 400 yards from the road on the property of a diary farm.

I came back the next morning with my metal detector (actually a sub-surface magnetic locator of the kind engineers and surveyors use, which can find iron, nickel, and cobalt down to 24") but the farmer and his sons and others were already out there with metal detectors, there must have been at least a dozen, looking and probing. I never heard of any discovery (meteorites are worth thousands) so I assume they found nothing, which strongly suggests a stony bolide of some kind that might be undetectable magnetically. At the angle it fell -- very shallow, not more than 10º from the horizon -- it must have started big and ended quite small, something between a golfball and a baseball. And at that angle it might not have left a crater.

Quaestor said...

I've got it! If the Indian killer whazit is a meteorite it's not just iron, or nickel-iron, or carbonaceous. I asked myself Self, what mineral is dark blue? Self said Cobalt compounds. I'd never seen or even heard of a cobalt meteorite, so I googled it.
Voilá!, dark blue and jagged.

Earnest Prole said...

a story too good to check

Quaestor said...

Here's a report from Cosmos News which is a good source generally. It includes a rather poorly focused picture of what looks like to me to be a typical nickel-iron meteorite -- brown with spots of Fe2O3. Definitely jagged but definitely not blue. I'd say case closed except that it's Injah, and the fuzzies always take their time sifting truth from hysteria. Well, I'm off to plumb the memsahib. Cheerio.

Ann Althouse said...

i mean, after landing... as they are puzzling over whar it is.

Earnest Prole said...

story finally checked and found to be embroidered

tim in vermont said...

I saw a meteor come through the clouds on a rainy night once. That was something. Like Zeus threw a fastball through the clouds with a mercury vapor street light.