Blogs & Videos: Meteorites

Learning from Pluto as a Dwarf Planet

Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet 10 years ago today. While many grieved the loss of the ninth planet, we’re now learning more than ever about this ball of ice and its faraway neighborhood at the edge of the solar system. So, what ended Pluto’s run as a planet? The International Astronomical Union, or IAU, defines a planet by three qualities: 1. Orbits the Sun 2. Big enough for gravity to shape it into a sphere (which is called “hydrostatic equilibrium”)

Two images, one showing the outside of a rock and the other showing the cross section, which is speckled tan, black and gold

A Breakup with Lasting Impact: Meteorites from a 470-Million-Year-Old Split

The residents of a Chicago suburb were jolted awake just before midnight on March 26, 2003—by meteorites falling through their roofs and windows. The Park Forest meteorite, named for the area at the center of the shower, fell in one of the most heavily populated areas to see meteorites in recent history.

Terry Boudreaux donates unique meteorite to the Field Museum

The meteorite, named Northwest Africa 7325, was found in Southern Morocco in early 2012 and likely comes from an asteroid in the space between Mars and Jupiter. The rock has puzzled scientists, leading one to speculate that it comes from the planet Mercury; however most researchers find this claim weak due to lack of evidence. This rock is an ungrouped achondrite and comes from a planetary body that has not been sampled before. Its study will enhance our picture of the diversity of planets in our solar system, and help better understand the formation of the planets, including Earth.

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