Researchers hunt for rare meteor near St. Thomas, Ont.

A group of meteorites rests on a table after a news conference at St. Thomas Municipal Airport in...

A group of meteorites rests on a table after a news conference at St. Thomas Municipal Airport in St. Thomas, Ont. on Friday. The meteorite on the far right is believed to be roughly the size of one that fell near St. Thomas on March 18, 2014. (Ben Forrest/QMI Agency)

Ben Forrest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:28 PM ET

ST. THOMAS, Ont. — Researchers have appealed to residents near St. Thomas in southwestern Ontario to keep an eye out for one or more meteorites believed to have fallen to Earth earlier this week.

The golf ball-sized meteorite is believed to have originated from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Western University researchers said it hit Tuesday, and it was caught on video by an array of sky-monitoring cameras.

“It’s going to be difficult to find the needle in the haystack,” said Phil McCausland, a meteorite curator at Western.

But if found, the meteorites could give insight into the origins of our solar system.

“It’s going to tell us about the things that made the early solar system – what made the earth, what made the other planets,” said Peter Brown, director of Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration.

This is the first time in about five years a meteorite has fallen in southwestern Ontario. The last “spectacular fall in this category” occurred near Grimsby, in the Niagara region, in September 2009, Brown said.

“This is very exciting for us.”

Meteorites in Canada belong to the owner of land on which they are found.

Researchers warned that anyone searching private land must first receive a landowner's permission.

HOW TO SPOT AT METEORITE

- May best be recognized by their dark and scalloped exterior

- Usually denser than normal rock

Often attract a fridge magnet due to their metal content

May be found in a small hole produced by dropping into soil

HOW TO HANDLE THEM

Any recovered meteorites should be placed in a clean plastic bag or container

Should be handled as little as possible to preserve their scientific information


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