Two sisters were walking on a beach in the Toms River on Friday when they spotted a five-meter-wide hole that looked very much like a crater. One reached, picking up a dark black object. It smelled of burning, looked strangely flat and smooth on one side.
Could it be a meteorite? Perhaps the remains of the ball of fire spotted on the east coast at the start of that week? Or maybe, just a really cool rock?
Curious to find out if their discovery of Silver Beach was really out of this world, Nora and Jean Muchanic took to Facebook and Google to discover the mystery.
Some friends suggested it could be leftovers from a bonfire, an old piece of asphalt or waste from an airplane. Others have agreed that it was a meteorite, encouraging women to sell it to finance their retirement.
But the experts are raining on their parade, explaining that it is extremely rare to find a meteorite, and it is unlikely that it is a space rock.
"Meteorites are very rare," said Joseph Trout, a physics professor at Stockton Univeristy. He did not see the champion or was on the spot in person, but he believes in the way they were handled by Nora and Jean, probably not a meteorite.
"When it is found, it is usually a handful of pebble-sized punch pieces that consist of iron, stone or iron and stone," he said in an e-mail. "From the size and the weight (intuited by the way in which the woman easily managed it), it did not look like stone or iron."
But Jean Muchanic said he has some features consistent with a meteorite.
"One side of the rock is dull and smooth, that could be the side that entered the atmosphere," he said. "I mean, there are rocks in the ocean, but this is really dark black. and it is not common to find a rock like
Sisters hope to find their discovery at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to understand what will happen this week.
"Our first step is to authenticate it," said Muchanic. If it is not authenticated, we will have a really fantastic and unique paperweight. "
Sophie Nieto-Munoz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on @snietomunoz Find NJ.com on Facebook .
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