UKFAll - The UK Fireball Alliance

The UK Fireball Alliance aims to recover freshly-fallen meteorites in the UK.  Led by staff of the Natural History Museum, UKFAll is a collaboration between the UK’s meteor camera networks.

 
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The Science

  • About 69,000 meteorites have been found world-wide

  • Only about 40 of these 69,000 were photographed as they arrived as a fireball, including of course the Winchcombe meteorite on 28th February 2021

  • Meteor camera networks photograph incoming meteors from multiple locations

  • That allows the meteor’s path through the atmosphere to be calculated accurately

  • From this, the meteorite’s likely landing point can be estimated

  • This helps us find it before it gets rained on or very contaminated

  • The object’s orbit before hitting the Earth can also be calculated.

  • So, we have a freshly-recovered object and we know where in the solar system it came from; a really powerful combination that helps us understand the solar system.

  • Also, the meteorite’s strength, density and composition can be compared with its path through the atmosphere to learn more about the physics of meteorite and comet impacts. 


Image - The Winchcombe Meteorite, recovered on 1st March 2021 after an appeal by UKFAll. Credit - the Trustees of the Natural History Museum

 

The People

UK-based members of the UKFAll team are:

  • Peter Campbell-Burns, Co-founder, the UK Meteor Observation Network

  • Dr Apostolos Christou, Research Astronomer, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

  • Prof. Gareth Collins, Professor of Planetary Science, Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London

  • Dr Luke Daly FRAS, Lecturer, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, and co-lead of the UK Fireball Network

  • Will Gater, Astronomer, science journalist, author and presenter

  • Dr Jana Horák, Head of Mineralogy & Petrology, National Museum Wales

  • Prof. Katherine Joy FRAS, Royal Society University Research Fellow / Senior Reader, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester

  • Richard Kacerek, Founder, the UK Meteor Observation Network

  • Dr Ashley King, Future Leader Fellow, UKRI, the Natural History Museum, London, and co-lead, the SCAMP fireball network 

  • Dr Sarah McMullan, Imperial College London, and co-lead of the UK Fireball Network

  • Jim Rowe FRAS, Coordinator of UKFAll and co-lead, the SCAMP fireball network.

Overseas members are:

  • Dr Maria Gritsevich, Researcher, Docent at the Department of Physics, University of Helsinki

  • Dr Denis Vida, Postdoctoral Associate, The University of Western Ontario

Institutional supporters of UKFAll in the 2021/2022 year are:

  • The Natural History Museum, London

  • The University of Manchester

  • The University of Glasgow

  • Imperial College London

  • Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

UKFAll's current postholders are - Jim Rowe, Coordinator, and Dr Luke Daly, Treasurer.  UKFAll is affiliated to the Geologists' Association.

 
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UKFAll in the News

14th January 2022: UKFAll has won the Royal Astronomical Society’s 2022 "Group Achievement Award in Geophysics", recognising the team’s work in recovering the Winchcombe meteorite!  The team (at right) is entirely delighted by and grateful for this recognition. Our press release (in PDF format) is here.


Links to earlier, detailed news reports on Winchcombe from 2021 are below:

 
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The Camera Networks

The participating UK meteor camera networks are:

 

Get your own camera and join us!  All welcome.


Want to build your own fireball camera for about £200? See this article in Popular Astronomy.  Or, if you would rather buy a camera system for about £250 and can wait for UK-based volunteers to build it then visit UKMON.  If you can't wait, you can pay more to get a system more quickly from Istrastream in Croatia.


For information on the UK meteor networks that you can join, see below - feel free to join one or both:

Do it in any order you like - build or buy the camera then join the networks, or join the networks then get some support to build the camera. 

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Report a fireball

Have you seen a really bright meteor?  Or heard a sonic boom that isn't related to aircraft movement?  If so, please click the button below to report it.  If a meteorite fell, your report may help us find it.

 

Winchcombe FAQ

Click "Read More" below for some answers to frequently-asked questions on the Winchcombe meteorite which fell on 28th February 2021 in Gloucestershire.   This guide was produced immediately after the fall, while the video is from Richard Fleet's camera in Wilcot - part of the UK Meteor Observation Network.

 

Our News - UKFAll on Twitter

Follow UKFAll at @UK_Fireball

 

Áine O'Brien of the University of Glasgow describes the recovery of the Winchcombe meteorite - on Twitter.

 

Finding the Winchcombe Meteorite, by Dr Ashley King of the Natural History Museum (March 2021)

 

Searching for the Winchcombe meteorite - footage from the field, provided by Professor Katherine Joy of the University of Manchester (March 2021)

 

Dr Ashley King and Dr Luke Daly talk about UKFall in August 2020

 

Dr Luke Daly gives an overview of UKFall at the Europlanet Virtual Science Congress in September 2020.

 

Jim Rowe describes some of the technical developments allowing meteor networks in the UK to share data.

 

Become a friend of UKFAll and join our mailing list

Sign up here to be notified when we think there's a meteorite to find or if we have significant news. Your contact details will only be used for this purpose.

(By the way, this form doesn't always display properly in the Firefox browser.)

 

Or send us a message

To report a meteor or a sonic boom, please use the "Report a fireball" link above.  Otherwise, please get in touch!

Thanks for submitting!

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