Ever since a small, new meteorite and its fragments crashed in the Sacramento area on February 17, 2013, just outside the town of Lotus and in the nearby Sierra hills, the event inspired by the Russian meteorite two days before, is bringing meteor hunters and researchers to the Sacramento area.
A meteor usually vaporizes so fast it never gets the time to burn, due to the friction between the air and the stone. For further information on meteors, check out the site, "Minor Planet Center at Harvard University." In the Sacramento, meteor hunters found a meteorite near the town of Coloma, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Sacramento. Hunters are continuing to look for bigger chips off the old block of meteorite. So far two pieces from the meteor already have been found, and more people are converging on the scene to look for more.
The meteor collectors are looking to find valuable (and now expensive) fragments of the meteorite, possibly to sell them. The search begins near Coloma. Some meteors from a variety of places are listed on eBay. The Sacramento (Coloma) area meteorite is very rare because it's a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite.
The meteorite hunters call such a rock a "CM" caused by various crusts that fuse together (fusion crusts) as the meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere. You can see such crusts on one side of the rock caused by the heat and friction of the rock's entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Also see the NASA news article, "Meteor streaking across the sky above Reno on Sunday - NASA." The meteor that streaked across Reno's sky landed near Sacramento around the town of Coloma.
Here in Sacramento, it's like the Gold Rush again, with meteor hunters, collectors, and researchers looking for newly fallen space rock remnants among the hills. See, the news article, "Fireball remnants likely in California after meteor – USA TODAY.com." The Sacramento area meteorite fragments are especially rare in their mineral composition.
In the Sacramento and Reno area, the meteorites that actually landed here on Sunday, February 17, 2013 were just two days after the meteor explosion and crash in Russia. But in Sacramento and its vicinity, those small meteorite fragments were about the weight of two nickels, about 10 grams, say news reports from scientists.
Just before the meteor entered the Earth's gravitational field and atmosphere, it probably weighed as much as an automobile, perhaps a minivan, reports news articles. Early Sunday a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere again as a flaming ball, similar to what was seen over the San Francisco Bay area on Friday.
Sunday's flaming meteor was heard as a loud boom and seen as a fireball early Sunday, February 17, 2013, two days after another meteor exploded over Russia. The new meteor was seen from Sacramento, California, to Las Vegas and parts of northern Nevada, according to the news article, "Fireball remnants likely in California after meteor – USA TODAY.com."
Once a year meteors are seen in various places around the world
In Florida, fireballs lit up the night sky also on Sunday. These meteors or meteorites were observed by more than 60 people in Florida. There are new calls for an early warning system to alert people in advance if a meteor is headed for a specific area, according to a February 20, 2013 article in the Christian Science Monitor, "Florida fireballs renew calls for early warning system."
Check out the video on the February 17, 2013 Florida meteorites at the Christian Science Monitor website. Both East and West coasts of the U.S.A. appeared to have been experiencing meteors (fireballs) in the sky. But where did they land?
Some meteorites crash to the ground where they can be valuable in the collector's market in the U.S.A. But it's supposedly illegal on the global market to sell them. Most meteors crash in places where people don't live. That's why when you find one, they become valuable collector's pieces.
Some space rocks are tiny as grains of sand or pebbles
You see others in the night sky as shooting stars, which is what some are called each year in Sacramento and in other areas But the trail of a meteorite streaking across the sky locally usually only lasts for a second for an object that small. Summertime is the usual season for meteor showers in Sacramento. But once in a while, there's a surprise like the meteorite that landed in California's Central Valley near Sacramento on February 17, 2013.
The Russian meteor may have weight about 154,300 pounds, according to NASA. When it disintegrated over Siberia, the energy released may have been equal to a 5-kiloton explosion — the Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons. You don't want that on your roof. In Sacramento, people heard the boom of a much smaller meteorite.
The sound is caused by the speed with which the space rock entered the atmosphere
Meteor hunters and collectors sometimes travel around the world looking for these rocks. On February 19, 2013 today, one hunter from Arizona converging upon the Sacramento area found a meteor, a rare find. It was just there, that chance of a lifetime, a meteor in a baseball field of all places and sitting there in a public park just outside the town of Lotus, near Sacramento. Other researchers are looking for meteorite fragments around Coloma, the Sierra mountains and foothills, and surrounding areas, even in a public park. The area might cover the entire Central Valley, CA from Reno to Sacramento.
Why the Sacramento meteorite is rare
This type of meteor found near Sacramento is extremely rare because it's made of amino acids and organic compounds. That's the same compounds found in all living creatures including humans and animals as well as plants. It's organic.
Such types of meteors usually aren't on a long list of objects near the Earth that NASA tracks daily. You can't find all of them since there are millions of stones and rocks in space too small to find with a telescope that enter the atmosphere and either burn up, vaporize, explode, or fall to Earth or in the oceans.
Network with meteorite collectors groups if you're looking to find one
How you find a meteorite is by networking with groups such as the Meteor Group at the Western University of Ontario in Canada. They knew that the meteor exploded in the upper atmosphere above California's Central Valley before the news could be communicated by Sacramento's mainstream media channels such as newspapers. See "University of Western Ontario: Meteor Physics Group." Also see, "Remnants of meteor fireball found in California - CBS News."
Hunters were on the spot as soon as news did get to them from meteor collector's and researcher's groups. Since it rained on February 19, 2013 today, the rain causes the meteor to degrade and lose minerals such as salt and potassium. Presently hundreds of collectors, meteor hunters, and meteor deals joined the quest to find a pebble or rock in the small towns and hills surrounding Sacramento.
Many are looking for bigger pieces that are probably there, since meteors fell not only in Sacramento, but also in the Bay area of California and over most of the Central Valley. It's only a matter of time before the rocks are found or the rain gets to them first. Check out the meteorites for sale already on eBay.
See the sites, "Collecting And Buying Meteorites Safely On Ebay," and "Suspect meteorites - Meteorite Identification." Also see, "How Much is a Meteorite Worth." Ironically, with the Russian meteor, you had strangers seeing a hole in the roof, stopping by a home in that Russian city offering a wide variety of prices to the homeowner.
According to news sources, the Russian woman sold the meteorite that exploded there Friday for the equivalent in Russian money of $250, but soon was told by another stranger that he'd pay $1,300 for the meteorite. The first offer was for only $60. Most people who have never found a meteorite or fragment of space rock in their damaged roof wouldn't know the value of a meteorite unless they were collectors or researchers of meteorites.