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Picking up the pieces of the Canadian meteorite

Dozens of remnants of the fireball that lit up Canadian skies last month have turned up in western Canada, according to a researcher leading the hunt. Alan Hildebrand, a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Calgary, told ScientificAmerican.com today that around 50 pieces of the object have now been found, the largest of which weighs roughly 28.5 pounds (13 kilograms). The meteor's brilliant trajectory was caught on film November 20 by unsuspecting videographers.

Over the weekend multiple news outlets reported that the search team had discovered remnants of the meteor near Lloydminster, a town of about 25,000 that straddles the border between the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Associated Press reports that a meteorite collector and dealer in Tucson, Ariz., had offered a bounty of up to $9,700 for the first fragment weighing at least 2.2 pounds (one kilogram). Hildebrand says he's not sure if any of the pieces are for sale but that he has informed the landowners where fragments were found of their potential value. Meteorites act as postcards from space in a sense, providing clues to the evolution of the solar system and the composition of distant objects.

Photo of the Holsinger Meteorite, a fragment of the meteorite that created Meteor Crater in Arizona, by Stephan Hoerold/iStockphoto

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