This rare meteorite found on a driveway might hold the answer to our solar system’s origin


As the British settled down to watch the late night news on February 28, news, literally, appeared in the night sky. A large and very bright fireball was seen over southern England and northern France at 21:54 GMT. It was recorded by many doorbell webcams, so it was a very well watched fireball. More importantly, it was also captured by automated cameras from the UK Meteor Observation Network and similar networks.

Working with colleagues in France and Australia, meteor watchers worked out the fireball’s path and determined where the meteorite pieces could be located, just north of Cheltenham in the UK. Based on their calculations, Ashley King, a meteorite specialist at the Natural History Museum in London, appealed to local TV and radio stations for information about the unusual black rocks that fell from the sky.

Among the photographs he received, there is one that caught his attention: a small mound of dust and pebbles on an alley in the small village of Winchcombe. King asked Open University researcher Richard Greenwood (who lived closest) to verify the sample. Greenwood was shocked to find that not only was it a meteorite, but it was also a very rare species. The UK had been lucky – we had a new member to add to our meteor collection.

Image of the main mass of the meteorite on the alley where it fell.