Dash Camera Footage Helps Scientists Find Meteors in Slovenia

An unexpected use for the technology

Novo Mesto
Novo Mesto, where the meteor fragments were found.
Marko Pirc, CC BY-SA 3.0

Meteors and meteor fragments plummeting towards the planet’s surface are regular occurrences — but the technology that can help scientists zero in on them might not be what you’d expect. You might imagine a powerful space telescope or a high-tech radar array being used to unearth more details about interplanetary objects heading towards the ground. But a more modest piece of technology can also be of substantial use here — specifically, dash cameras.

You might recall the massive fireball that appeared in the skies over Russia in 2013. Some of the most widely-circulated footage of that came from the dash cameras of drivers who happened to be in the vicinity. And now, dash cameras have helped scientists locate fragments of a meteor that landed in Slovenia last February.

A new article by Meghan Bartels at Space.com has more information on the specifics of the search. Bartels writes that dash cameras in “Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary” all recorded the meteor entering the atmosphere and splitting apart — in this case, into 17 discernible fragments.

Gradually, scientists looked over the footage in order to determine the fragments’ location. They went on to discover three of them near Novo Mesto in Slovenia. These three pieces of the meteor weighed in with a combined total of 1.6 pounds.

Aiding in the discovery of objects from outer space may not have been the intended use for dash cameras, but there’s something to be said for improvisation and innovation. This latest discovery abounds with both.

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