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Meteor expert to speak in Coloma

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From page A1 | May 27, 2013 | Leave Comment

A public presentation on the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite by SETI Institute meteor expert, Dr. Peter Jenniskens, will be held on June 1 in Coloma.

On Dec. 21, 2012 a consortium of researchers published in the journal Science the first results from the analysis of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite and the circumstances of the asteroid impact over California’s Gold Country on April 22, 2012. Consortium lead, Dr. Peter Jenniskens, will report on these results and talk about the efforts made by NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute to coordinate the recovery with residents of Coloma and Lotus in order to learn as much as possible about the asteroid.

Jenniskens invites people to bring possible finds of their own for verification, as Sutter’s Mill meteorites can still be found. Dr. Jenniskens will also talk about the most recent meteorite fall in California in October, which was a product of his video meteor surveillance project, called CAMS, that tracked the fireball to the town of Novato. Finally, he will report on visiting the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, where an air burst occurred on Feb. 15 that injured over a thousand people.

Dr. Jenniskens is best known for teaming up with University of Khartoum researchers and scientists to track down the meteorites following the impact of the small asteroid 2008 TC3 on Oct. 7, 2008, still the only asteroid that was seen coming in before hitting the Earth. Sutter’s Mill was the next biggest impact over land. His latest project is a video surveillance of the night sky to map out our meteor showers. Before that, he was the principal investigator of a number of airborne observing campaigns that studied meteor showers and the fireballs created when spacecraft returned from interplanetary space. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Leiden University in the Netherlands and has since been associated with NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute. He is the author of “Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets.”

The event will be held Saturday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gold Trail Grange, 319 Highway 49 in Coloma. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be available for purchase. There is no charge to attend but donations are welcomed to benefit SETI and the Gold Trail Grange. For more information, contact Alice Butler, event coordinator for Gold Trail Grange 452 at 530-626-1194 or visit the Website at goldtrailgrange.com.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

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