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Sunday 4 December 2016

The hunt is underway for a meteorite in Ireland, with remnants worth 50 times the value of gold

Greg Harkin

Published 26/11/2016 | 16:22

The meteor, so bright astronomers call it a ‘fireball’, was seen blazing across the sky at 5.15pm yesterday
The meteor, so bright astronomers call it a ‘fireball’, was seen blazing across the sky at 5.15pm yesterday

The hunt is underway for a meteorite, with remnants worth 50 times the value of gold.

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The fireball was spotted in the skies above Ireland around 5.20pm on Wednesday with most reports coming from Co Donegal.

Astronomy Ireland expert David Moore says they have logged hundreds of reports.

Retired taxi driver John Gallagher, from Donegal Town, says he saw the meteorite slow down and fizzle out mid-air over the Bluestack Mountains. He was driving from Donegal Town to Ballybofey at the time.

"It was a huge fireball and it was very very close. It seemed to be going quite slow and then it seemed to drop," he said.

"I was just passing the turn-off for Harvey's Point Hotel when I saw it. It was an incredible sight.

"I reckon it fell to earth not far from where I was because it appeared to just stop glowing."

David Moore says his team is collating reports and hopes to issue a possible location for the landing next week.

"It was seen in Scotland, England and Wales and that wouldn't be unusual because they can be seen up to 1,000 miles away," he said.

"However most of the close-up sightings have been across northern counties with lots of reports from Co Donegal.

"We are meeting this weekend and we will collate all the sightings and try to pinpoint the trajectory and give a rough location of where we believe it landed.

"Particles of meteorite are very valuable. We won't be looking for it ourselves though."

The projected landing site will be announced on astronomy.ie on Monday or Tuesday.

Just one gramme of meteorite can fetch €500.

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