Meteorites found in Yunnan Province to be put on show in Shanghai

Researchers with Shanghai Planetarium brought a meteorite crater and two meteorites found in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province back to Shanghai.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

The main meteorite is displayed at a press conference in Shanghai on August 25, 2018.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A smaller meteorite is displayed.

Researchers with Shanghai Planetarium brought a meteorite crater and two meteorites found in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province back to Shanghai to add to its collection.

The planetarium, which is a branch of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, is now under construction.

This makes the museum the first one to recover a crater in China. The museum also filmed the whole process of the recovery.

Meteorite craters  are crucial in getting important information such as the velocity and direction of a meteorite before impacting, which is of great scientific value, according to the museum.

At the press conference on Saturday afternoon, the main crater of Xishuangbanna meteorite shower and two meteorites were for the first time unveiled. The museum said both the main meteorite and craters will be exhibited when Shanghai Planetarium opens.

Dr. Lin Qin, deputy director of Shanghai Planetarium Construction Command, told Shanghai Daily that the planetarium plans to build a section called "Guests from Outer Space" for planets, meteors and meteorites. 

"There we'll display a collection of interesting meteorites to the public," said Lin. "For us, these meteorites and the crater are gifts from the heaven. Besides the exhibits, we will also provide the story of recovery and scientific knowledge behind them for the visitors."

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A meteorite crater

Zhang Bo, a "meteorite hunter" and donor of the main meteorite, said: “Being a professional meteorite hunter requires one to be tough-minded to overcome problems and drawbacks while searching. Basic field survival skills are also needed as meteorites are often buried in depopulated or other places with severe environment.”

On June 1 this year, a fireball was observed illuminating the night sky over Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture. Some villagers filmed video clips of the fireball and posted them online, attracting "meteorite hunters" from all over the country. More than 500 pieces of meteorite, and about 50 kg in total weight have been recovered, the museum said. 

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