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Earliest recording of a European meteorite

Earliest recording of a European meteorite

R305/0116

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Credit

D. VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY D. VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Earliest recorded European meteorite. Medieval manuscript page which is the first to record a meteorite (shown in woodcut image at top). It fell near Ensisheim, a town in Alsace which is now in France, on the morning of 7 November 1492. The "thunderstone" was interpreted as a sign of God's anger. It is thought that the meteorite weighed almost 130 kilogrammes (kg), of which a 55 kg mass remains. The meteorite was a stony chondrite type; chondrites make up about 86% of the solar system's meteorites. About 500 meteorites hit Earth each year, but most fall in the sea or remote regions & go unrecorded. Meteorites were not widely accepted as having an extraterrestrial origin until 1803.

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