[meteorite-list] Fourth-grader Finds Meteorite in Florida?

Ron Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Tue Nov 20 17:06:01 EST 2007

Jeremiah Barnes, 10, spoke in science classes at Cedar Key School on Friday, where
he explained how he saw a meteorite fall into his yard this week.



Fourth-grader finds meteorite in yard
November 18, 2007

CEDAR KEY - A fourth-grader got a personal, hands-on lesson in
meteorites earlier this week.

Jeremiah Barnes, 10, was the featured speaker in science classes at
Cedar Key School Friday, where he explained how he saw the meteorite
fall into his yard at the beginning of the week.

After seeing an object streak into the yard, Jeremiah told high school
classes he initially thought one of his cousins had thrown something
over the fence. After running over to the object and touching it,
Jeremiah said he knew it was something extraordinary.

"It burned my finger so I ran in the house and got my sister," Jeremiah

After seeing a blister rise on her brother's index finger, Angel Neese,
a 14-year-old ninth-grader, doused the object with water from the garden
house. Brother and sister watched in fascination as the water being
poured into the shoebox-sized hole made by the object instantly began

"It kind of looked like lava from a volcano, but then I remembered what
we learned in [eighth-grade] science class. And I kind of thought it
would be a meteorite," Angel said. After the object cooled, Angel
pointed out the metals in it to her little brother and explained what
she remembered about objects superheating when they entered the Earth's

Jeremiah presented the molten lump to high school science teacher
Richard Whitman, who confirmed it was a meteorite and called the
astronomy department at the University of Florida to try to figure out
the odds of a fourth-grader in the state's smallest public school
actually seeing a meteorite hit the ground.

"Not a real likely event," Whitman said. "For anyone."

Jeremiah said he plans to keep the meteorite and is cautious about who
gets to handle his new treasure. After telling his story to the high
school science students, Jeremiah answered questions, then walked from
desk to desk allowing the teenagers to look and touch, but being careful
to make sure it remained over a desk to reduce the risk of an accidental

"I want to make sure I have it always, and it doesn't ever get broken,"
Jeremiah said.

[meteorite-list] Fourth-grader Finds Meteorite in Florida?

AL Mitterling almitt at kconline.com
Fri Nov 23 09:43:31 EST 2007

Hi All,

I believe the reason that so many similar "meteor" stories by kids like Jeremiah are reoccurring is because of the Noblesville, Indiana fall. This true story is used in one of NASA's most excellent Teacher's publications teaching the facts about meteorites. Perhaps it is used in school text books if they talk about meteorites at all.

I investigated such a "fall" back about 15 years ago in the city of Valparaiso, Indiana. In my case the young person who I believe actually saw a meteor steak and heard something, search his yard until he came upon a rock he was sure was what he saw in the sky. I questioned him, looked at his sample and then carefully explained (very slowly to let the family down easy) as to why his specimen wasn't a meteorite, one observation at a time. I also took specimens to show them what real meteorites look like.

I'd bet that because his story was widely published at the time and my follow up investigation was also published telling the readers why it wasn't a meteorite, that my young meteor witness was no doubt teased a bit in school for creating such a media sensation. However, I believe he did the community a favor by bring attention to meteorites, how they fall, how they look and the real truths about them.

I think we can use such occurrences to our advantage, teaching people and kids about the facts on meteorites.

All my best!

--AL Mitterling

SEE Burnin' Desire

SEE: Boy Sees Meteorite Land In Backyard

SEE: Teenager Hit by 'Meteorite' Seeks Expert Opinion