Berlin (dpa) – After a small asteroid burned up near Berlin on Sunday evening, meteorite hunters went out to the fields near Neynhausen (Haviland). “Because the fall zone is so large and the calculations are inaccurate, you are literally looking for a needle in a haystack. Once the first detections are made, we can narrow down the search area and improve the calculations,” Andreas Müller of the Meteore Working Group told Deutsche News Agency on Monday.
Staff at the Natural History Museum in Berlin and individuals have already begun searching. “Professional meteorite hunters from the USA are already on their way to Germany,” Müller said.
The area consists of large fields that were still lightly covered with snow, but had recently melted. “This is the ideal research area,” Müller explained. “The fields are unplowed and the vegetation is very low.” “We will be out and about again this week and will be systematically searching the fields,” he added.
Monica Staeschi of the board of directors of the Berlin Planetarium Foundation does not consider the research easy. On the one hand, it is not yet clear what material the parts are made of. Therefore, they can resemble stones or even pieces of coal. The search will be easier if the meteorites are made of iron, because they can be detected using a metal detector.
“You can look for a whole bunch of stones that are maybe a centimeter or half a centimeter in size, maybe smaller,” she said.
Lutz Hecht of the Nature Museum Berlin – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Research said it might be possible to find pieces half a meter long. Size varies greatly.
NASA's asteroid monitoring unit had correctly announced the fireball in advance at 1:32 a.m. Sunday near Nynhausen, west of Berlin. Many photos and videos were then circulated on social media. Accordingly, the same fireball can still be seen in Leipzig and Prague. The celestial body is listed as 2024 BX1.
Nyenhausen's office now hopes that the area will become better known and that more tourists will come, especially in the summer months, a spokeswoman said.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:240122-99-706980/2
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