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Monday 26 September 2016

Attention treasure-hunters! €10k pieces of meteorite fall in Ireland

Published 28/04/2015 | 13:43

The race is on, go grab the nearest metal detector.

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An Irish person could be in for a cash windfall after pieces of meteorite worth up to €10,000 each fell from the skies at the weekend.

Hundreds of people witnessed a fireball streaking across the Irish skies at approximately 10.10pm on Sunday evening.

According to David Moore, editor of the Astronomy Ireland magazine, each piece of meteorite could fetch up to ten times the price of gold in the collectors' market.

At the current price of gold, this means that a piece of meteorite rock weighing approximately 28 grams could make the lucky person a cool €10,000.

It is believed that two meteorites land in Ireland every year, but they are rarely visible to the naked eye.

Astronomy Ireland have received hundreds of reports of the sighting, with coast guards in the south-west of the country getting mistaken reports of 'flares being released'.

Experts believe this meteorite, seen streaking from Kerry towards Donegal, could have been as large as a car while still whole.

"There is a chance some parts of this meteorite survive, and we think it may have fallen somewhere in the north of the country," Astronomy Ireland's David Moore told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland as he appealed for people to share their stories of the sighting.

"We'd ask people to get in contact with us while it's still fresh in their mind. Check your CCTV cameras if you have them, a photographic report would be worth hundreds of eye witness reports," he said.

"The price of meteorites and what they're worth would come from the collectors and what they're prepared to pay," he continued.

"It is a big trade and Irish meteorites are very rare. It's a small island, this doesn't happen very often."

David recalled the last time a meteorite was recovered in Ireland in Loughlinbridge in Co Carlow in 1999.

"Pieces were found in north Co Carlow, the collector who bought some of them wanted to stay anonymous, but they were being bought for ten times the price of gold,"  Mr Moore said.

"However, we're not interested in the commercial value, we're interested in the fact that these are scientific specimens."

If people do go hunting in their local fields for the pieces of precious rock, Mr Moore advised them to look closely.

"The rocks might like they are nothing special," he said.

"The earth is effectively built up of billions of meteorites, but because they've been through the re-entry they'll be melted with a dark fusion crust.

"If they've been cracked open, they look like crystallised structures, some parts look like metal, other parts may look like coal. It would be like a burnt-looking rock looking out of place on the ground."

Mr Moore said Astronomy Ireland are seeking for people to fill out the report form on Astronomy.ie (click here).

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