Fireball could have dropped meteorite into UK’s New Forest, experts claim

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A fireball may have dropped a meteorite in the New Forest, experts have suggested.

On March 20 a fireball was seen from the island of Jersey, minutes before a sonic boom was heard widely across the Dorset area, Hampshire Live reports.

Now the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAII) has said its researchers believe the fireball may have dropped a meteorite in or near the northern part of the New Forest in Hampshire.

It is believed the meteorite dropped a few minutes after the loud sonic boom was heard.

Dr Ashley King, of the Natural History Museum, said rough guidance suggested there could be a space rock on the ground somewhere between Verwood in Dorset and Romsey in Hampshire.

He said: "It's a pity there was thick cloud over Dorset at the time.

"Otherwise it would have been bright and highly visible going overhead at very high speed, followed two minutes later by the sonic boom.

"We'd also know exactly where to find this rock.

"At the moment we can only give rough guidance, that there could be a meteorite on the ground somewhere between Verwood in Dorset and Romsey in Hampshire or a few miles either side of a line between them, though we hope to refine this a bit in a week or so."

In a video shot from Jersey, the meteor was first visible in the direction of Plymouth and its altitude was measured at around 90km.

Around 4.6 seconds later, the meteor was visible in the direction of Dorchester, in Dorset, at an altitude of around 38km.

That footage, combined with measurements of the timings of the sonic boom and reports of the direction of the meteor, meant that experts could estimate the fireball's path across Dorset.

People have been asked not to breach coronavirus restrictions in order to look for the meteorite.

Dr Katherine Joy, of the University of Manchester, said: "If you do find a meteorite on the ground, ideally photograph it in place, note the location using your phone GPS, don't touch it with a magnet, and, if you can, avoid touching it with your hands."

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