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A team of scientists from Mumbai left for Nagpur on Tuesday to investigate the impact of last Tuesday’s meteorite shower in the Katol region, which left several houses damaged. The team is expected to reach Nagpur on Wednesday early morning.
NAGPUR: It's official now. The fire balls seen by some people in Akola district and city on Tuesday were meteorite showers spread over an area of over 200km. They travelled in eastern direction and some fell in Katol tehsil of Nagpur district. It is the first time that meteorite shower has been recorded in Vidarbha.
"The phenomenon of balls of fire shooting from the sky accompanied by huge blast-like sounds was witnessed by many last Tuesday evening around 5 p.m. The shower was travelling in the eastern direction and is the first such meteorite shower recorded in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra," Adur told IANS.
Tentatively named 'Vinoba Meteorite Shower 2012', the team will probe whether any crater has been formed in the region, covering a distance of around 200 sq km, said Bharat Adur, head of Akash Ganga Centre for Astronomy (AGCA), Thane.
Scientists to probe Nagpur meteorite shower
"The piece disintegrated soon after entering our atmosphere and the meteorites hit the surface at a speed of over 17 km per second. If it had not disintegrated, the effects could have been disastrous for parts of Nagpur and other areas," Adur pointed out. He explained that the meteorite which hit at Lonar in Buldhana district some 52,000 years ago was around 100 metres in diameter and has created a crater measuring around 4,000 metres diameter and a depth of 450 feet which is now famous as the Lonar Lake.
A large meteorite shower in the Katol region damaged several houses on 22nd May 2012 between 2 and 2.30 pm. The phenomenon of balls of fire shooting from the sky accompanied by huge blast-like sounds was witnessed by many in the evening around 5 p.m.   The shower was traveling in the eastern direction and is the first such meteorite shower recorded in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. The meteor shower was accompanied by earth tremors measuring 2.1 on the Richter Scale. The biggest among the meteorites weighed 673.5 gms. The surface was completely burnt showing dark brown roasted colour with sub-rounded edges. GSI said the sample is a stony meteorite (Chondrite) dominated by silicates (olivine and others) with a little iron. These are the oldest rocks in the solar system.
The phenomenon of balls of fire shooting from the sky accompanied by huge blast-like sounds
Meteorites are known to fall as single, discreet objects; as showers of fragments from a meteor which breaks up during the atmospheric portion of its flight; and (rarely) as multiple individual falls. The initial mass and composition of the meteoroid primarily determine its eventual fate, along with its speed and angle of entry into the atmosphere.
A meteoroid which disintegrates tends to immediately lose the balance of its cosmic velocity because of the lessened momentum of the remaining fragments. The fragments then fall on ballistic paths, arcing steeply toward the earth. The fragments will strike the earth in a roughly elliptical pattern (called a distribution, or dispersion ellipse) a few miles long, with the major axis of the ellipse being oriented in the same direction as the original track of the meteoroid. The larger fragments, because of their greater momentum, tend to impact further down the ellipse than the smaller ones. These types of falls account for the “showers of stones” that have been occasionally recorded in history. Additionally, if one meteorite is found in a particular area, the chances are favorable for there being others as well.