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The Tagish Meteorite was probably about 5 meters across before it entered the Earth's atmosphere. It broke apart before landing on the icy lake. Before the rising temperatures of spring melted the ice on the lake, over 500 meteorite fragments were found, 410 fragments were documented and about 200 fragments were recovered. One of the meteorite fragments appears here in the ice of Tagish Lake. The camera lense cap was placed next to the meteorite fragment for size comparison purposes.
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Image courtesy of the University of Western Ontario and the University of Calgary

A Look at the Solar System's Past - the Tagish Meteorite
News story originally written on September 24, 2001

Have you ever looked at pictures of friends or relatives to see what they looked like when they were very young? That is what some scientists are trying to do with a meteorite that fell in Canada. This meteorite helps scientists understand what the solar system was like as it was forming.

The meteorite, named the Tagish Lake Meteorite, is made up of the same dust and gases that the solar system was formed from. Because it is made from the same material, scientists can study the meteorite and see what our very young solar system was like.

The reason this meteorite is special is that it contains only simple molecules. This means that it was formed very early in the birth of our solar system, and so gives scientists a picture of what the solar system was like at an earlier point than all the other meteorites that have ever been found. In a way, the Tagish Lake Meteorite is like a picture of the solar system, and in this case, a baby picture!

Last modified September 21, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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