Researchers are looking for meteor fragments from the fireball seen over Ontario.

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Two days ago it raced through the room, now someone could hold the history of the universe in their hands.

In fact, Western University and Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum researchers hope that humans will do a little meteorite hunting.

Professor Peter Brown, with the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Western University, says that the beach ball sized meteorite entered the atmosphere around 2:44 a.m. on Wednesday.

“The object itself has indeed penetrated very deeply into the atmosphere. And we think that meteorites lie on the ground, west of the city of Bancroft,[Ont.].”

The meteorite was recorded by the camera network of the Western University “All Sky”. It produced a brilliant six-second flash, a clear sign that a meteorite was on its way to the earth’s surface.

It came into the Earth’s atmosphere east of Toronto, near Oshawa, and followed northeast over Peterborough, and according to Brown: “It gives us some context to understand this particular stone very early in the history of the solar system”.

How early? Already 4.5 billion years ago, when the solar system actually came into being.

The meteorite fragments will look like they were discovered in Grimsby, Ont. during a similar event in October 2009.

The hope is that the meteorites discovered near Bancroft can be handed over to the Royal Ontario Museum for investigation.

Kim Tait, chairman of the ROM for Mineralogy, explains: “Each of these rocks is a little different. Every time I think I know what I’m going to find, I find something completely different. So that’s the exciting thing.”

Braun says the only time a meteorite poses a risk is when it jumps to Earth, there are no radiation concerns.

Meteors usually have a shiny, black exterior, are heavier than most rocks and are almost always magnetic.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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