ALBERTA

Banff Fireball Photo Has Scientists Seeking Space Rock

01/23/2015 11:09 EST | Updated 01/23/2015 11:59 EST

A stunning photo of a fireball streaking across the sky over Banff National Park last month has University of Calgary (U of C) scientists chasing after fragments of space rock.

Lincoln Hanton and Alan Hildebrand of U of C's geoscience department have attempted to locate the fragments of a meteor that flew across the sky over Alberta and are now believed to have landed in B.C., The Calgary Herald reported.

"We believe it first entered the atmosphere just over Canal Flats, B.C.," Hanton told the newspaper of the meteor. "Based on our calculations, it looks like it was heading toward Calgary."

The photo was captured by photographer Brett Abernethy as he and another cameraman were stationed at Johnson Lake, hoping to shoot the northern lights.

But soon a meteor lit up the sky over Mount Rundle and Abernethy managed to catch it with his Canon 5D Mark III camera.

Hanton and Hildebrand were later on the meteor's trail with the help of Rick Nowell, a lab assistant at Cranbrook, B.C.'s College of the Rockies, who filmed the rock with an all-sky video camera, reported E-Know.ca, an online news site from the Kootenay region.

Hildebrand said the fragments likely come from a weak space rock, perhaps a carbonaceous chondrite from the Outer Asteroid Belt. These rocks make up only around three per cent of meteorites that reach Earth.

The fragments of meteor likely hit the ground in B.C.'s upper White River Valley, which Hildebrand says is a "tough area to search."

He and a team of researchers expect to look there in the spring, and he's asking others who can arrive there safely to seek the fragments as well.

The biggest of the fragments is estimated to weigh around two kilograms, and have a dark grey appearance, the Herald reported.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Perseid Meteor Shower Pictures