On Sunday, 8. November 2020 a very bright meteor, maybe even a bolide, was seen above the Czech Republic, as bright as a full Moon. Two days ago, on 16. November 2020, the location of its strewn field was declassified.
Why has it been declassified?
Before we get to the curious part of classifying and declassifying meteorite impact sites, few terms should be clarified.
Asteroid, meteor, bolide, meteorite, meteoroid
ASTEROIDS are the easiest to explain, they are any rocky object in space that is not a planet. METEORS are a light phenomenon, occurring when an asteroid enters (Earth’s) atmosphere and starts to burn (the scholarly term is to ablate). BOLIDES are simply very bright meteors, the threshold is (arbitrarily) set at an apparent magnitude of -14, twice as bright as the full moon.
METEORITES are fragments of the interplanetary matter that survive the impact on the Earth[i]. METEOROIDS are just small asteroids, the threshold set (also arbitrarily) at one meter in size (they don’t have to burn in the Earth’s atmosphere or impact the Earth itself. An important term, STREWN FIELD (or a distribution ellipse, sometimes impact ellipse) is the area where fragments of a meteorite are scattered.
After its atmospheric entry, a meteorite usually breaks into smaller fragments due to the thermal shock. Interestingly, the force of the air drag plays a secondary role in the fragmentation, as the rapid increase in temperature of the meteorites surface and the temperature difference between the surface and the interior quite literally rips the object apart[ii].
As the meteorite fragments in the air, individual fragments continue on individual trajectories slightly deviated sideways and strongly deviated in the direction of the flight. Thus, an ellipse is formed.
Strewn field of the Pultusk meteorite, Poland. Red dots represent the largest found meteorite fragments, the total number being about 68 780, the largest ever recorded for a stony meteorite. The direction of the flight is represented by the arrow. Source: Wikipedia.
So why was itdeclassified then?
You might think, why would officials classify the location where a meteorite has fallen? Well, there are many conspiracy theories out there, but the reason is much simpler.
The fact that a meteor has fallen is impossible to conceal, but the precise location of the impact is not trivial (but possible) to calculate. The standard approach is to calculate the impacted place (the entire strewn field), send in a team of astronomers with experience in distinguishing extraterrestrial fragments from ordinary rocks and try to find them for further analysis.
And the only reason the site is classified is to protect every fragment of the meteorite as an important scientific specimen and to avoid over-excited people to dangle around the site looking for the scientifically precious pieces.
So, once the special team finds the desired samples or fails to do so, the location is publicized (declassified) and the unprofessional public is let to either find the remaining fragments (if the initial search was successful) or hopefully any fragments (if the initial search was not successful) and offer them to the scientists.
Location, location, location 😀
This is the location of the impact, (feel free to try your luck 🙂 [iii]). The numbers indicate the expected weight of the fragments in the location. The strewn field is bent due to the wind, which is a common occurrence. Possible future finds of any fragments of this meteorite should be reported.
Most “large” meteorites, i.e. that one can hold in a hand, have formed a bolide (or were very close to it) during their atmospheric entry. Other very common types of meteorites are the so-called micrometeorites, i.e. very small meteorites, around the size of one millimeter and less. The intermediately sized meteorites tend to completely burn in the atmosphere.Micrometeorites survive because they get slowed down quickly enough to avoid evaporating. [ii] This can be nicely demonstrated by putting normal rocks into a fire and when they are hot, pouring cold water on them. As the rocks cool down rapidly, internal stress caused by the temperature difference disrupts the internal structure of the rock, causing them to be very brittle, so much that they can be shattered in bare hands (once they cool sufficiently to be held, of course).
Of course, meteorites warm up rapidly, not cool down, but since their surface gets warmed to about 1000 °C and their interior is still as cold a rocks in space (about -200 °C), the internal stress produced by this temperature difference (scholarly called temperature gradient) is enough to disrupt the internal structure of the solid body.
[iii]Just keep in mind, keeping a found meteorite (or something the finder considers to be meteorite) might be illegal (depending on the country of impact and the precise legal definitions) and turning a large number of ordinary rocks to the scientists in hopes of finding a meteorite fragment distracts them from their work.
Scott C'one has been on the case of Planet X since his early college years dating back to 1990. His discoveries in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 have become groundbreaking evidence of the existence of stellar bodies that have been captured by the Sun. He has also produced over 2000 videos detailing and exposing this evidence and his videos are available on his Youtube Channel Planet X News. Scott C'one leads the way in Planet X Research and his investigations has lead to exposing The Biggest Cover-Up in World History.