by Shay Carr
The Georgia Space Grant Consortium and the University of West Georgia Physics Department both sponsored the “Comets, Meteors and Asteroids” multimedia astronomy demonstration and lecture Friday, March 14. The event was held from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Crider Lecture Hall at UWG.
Dr. Ben de Mayo, UWG professor emeritus of physics, covered many different topics, including some historical meteor impacts such as the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia last February and the Chicxulub impact that destroyed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Mayo even discussed the possibility of another large asteroid striking Earth. He also spoke on Halley's Comet, the asteroid belt and the dwarf planet Ceres, which was formerly known as the largest asteroid. In addition, a number of demonstrations were provided for guest to experience, including virtual trips to a comet and an asteroid with fly-bys and landings.
Several meteorite items were on display, including a piece of meteor oxide crust from the Barringer meteorite, which struck Arizona 49,000 years ago and created a giant crater. A large shrapnel fragment of the meteorite that struck the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of the USSR on Feb. 12, 1947 was also on display. Another notable display was a cross-section slice of the Gao-Guenie meteorite, a stone chondrite meteorite that fell March 5, 1960 in Burkina Faso, Africa. Many other samples from around the world were also presented.