You can now see a meteorite that arrived in a fiery explosion Tuesday above southeast Michigan on display at the Longway Planetarium in Flint.
The space rock is one of three discovered by a team of scientists Thursday afternoon at an undisclosed location south of Howell. Todd Slisher, the planetarium's executive director and an astronomer, said the meteorite is made up of a stony, grayish material, with black fusion crust from when it fired its way through Earth's atmosphere.
"It's probably a piece of debris left over from the formation of our solar system," he said. "It's probably 4-5 billion years old, something like that."
Eventually, all three meteorites will be displayed at the museum. One is being kept on ice. Slisher said he's sending it to NASA scientists, who can analyze its materials. Meteoroids hurtling through space are very cold, and because some chemicals turn to gas at room temperature, he is keeping it chilled.
"Even though the outer part of the rock burned, we hope the inner part didn't reach high enough temperatures," he said.
The meteorite on display at the museum can be viewed until 8 p.m. Friday, from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, and other normal business hours. And no, they won't let you touch it.
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Slisher said this was his first successful search for meteorites, after one fruitless search in 1990 in a Michigan forest and another time in Georgia. This time, he used a Nest camera at his home, about 21 miles from meteorites' landing site, to help calculate their location.
"It was incredible," Slisher, 49, said of finding the space rocks. "We were out there fist-bumping, high-fiving and screaming and everything. Just really nice to be able to find these."