Barwell meteorite chunk now on show in American museum
Graham flew out to deliver it and tell people about the village
A FRAGMENT of the Barwell meteorite along with the story of how it fell through a factory roof has gone on display in a USA museum.
The space rock is on show at the Tellus Science Museum in the town of Cartersville in Georgia.
The fragment belongs to meteorite collector Graham Ensor whose lifelong fascination with meteorites began with the Barwell meteorite. He was just nine and living 10 miles from Barwell when the space rock crashed to earth.
Mr Ensor flew to Georgia to lend his fragment to the museum and give a talk. He described how his fragment fell through the roof a factory over the 1965 Christmas break. The rock was found by a factory worker Ernie Wright who took it home. Worries it might be radioactive meant it was banished to a box in the family’s garage. After almost 50 years Mr Ensor acquired it from Mr Wright’s son.
Mr Ensor said: “I flew out a few weeks ago with it and now it is on display there with info about Barwell and the fall. I was asked to give a talk about Barwell, the area and the story of the fall and my association with it at the opening event.
“The whole thing has gone very well and I’m being flown back in March next year to collect it and give another talk at a meteorite symposium there.”
The meteorite crashed to earth in Barwell on Christmas eve in 1965 shattering into fragments. The largest fragment belongs to the Natural History Museum and is on permanent loan to the National Space Centre in Leicester.
Mr Ensor’s fragment is part of display of information about meteorites falling to earth and the damage they did. The story of Ann Hodges also features. In Sylacauga, Alabama, she was left with a massive bruise after a meteorite crashed thought he roof of her home, bounced off a radio and struck her on the hip. Another exhibit is a car damaged by a meteorite which fell in the town of Peekskill near New York in 1992.
Scientists estimate between 36 and 166 meteorites fall to earth each year. Many more burn in earth’s atmosphere before they reach the planet’s surface.
Most meteorites which do reach earth fall in the sea or remote areas. The chances of being hit by a meteorite are very low with Mrs Hodges the only person ever known to have been hit by one.
In 2013 a large meteorite fell near the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia. It didn’t hit anyone but there were widespread injuries. That’s because the sonic boom created damaged buildings, particularly windows, and people were injured by shattered glass.
Meteorite collector Graham Ensor with his 139g fragment of the Barwell meteorite found after it smashed through the roof of a factory on Dawsons Lane, Barwell, on Christmas eve 1965.
A chunk of the Barwell meteorite belonging to the Natural History Museum landed back in the village on the day a green plaque was unveiled on the site of the skyfall on Christmas Eve 1965, December 2016. Picture: Andrew Carpenter
National Space Centre curator Dan Kendall with the largest known chunk of the Barwell meteorite which fell to earth on Christmas eve 1965. It is now owned by London’s Natural History Museum