Has this solar panel been hit by a meteorite?

Has this solar panel been hit by a meteorite?

We got asked on twitter this morning whether this solar panel had indeed been hit and shattered by a meteorite. It looks like a pretty heavy impact and would be really cool if it’s true …

But unfortunately, it’s probably not. 🙁

Gretchen is a meteorite expert and she says “I would say not – because micrometeorites are really, really micro – which means they would get slowed down coming through the atmosphere. This means they wouldn’t have hit a roof at anything like cosmic velocities.”

Martin is an applied physicist on the Desert Fireball Network and has worked at the European Space Agency. He once spent three weeks staring at Hubble space telescope solar panels with a camera.

Martin says: “Cricket ball. It doesn’t look like a micrometeorite impact at all. The large rings far out from the impact site imply to me momentum and shock waves rippling out, not an explosive type impact that meteorites produce. Plus you don’t get hyper-velocity micrometeorites on the Earth’s surface, only higher up.”

Still, we always love an investigation and a wicked blog – thanks Dave!

3 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 11:52h, 29 January Reply

    Ok, thanks.
    But how do you explain the tiny crushed glass point impact only 1mm or two wide, with a cricket ball?
    Like shown in this screen grab here:
    http://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-846-solar-panel-micrometeorite-impact!/msg853593/#msg853593

    Also, according to a trusted viewer on Yotube comments who showed the video to two reputable meteorite people one of whom “is an internationally known astronomer specializing in meteorites (curates the world’s largest collection, has been to Antarctica on collection trips)” says “this was NOT a sub 5mm impactor. They both say it’s very likely a meteorite, but probably larger, golf ball size or even a bit larger.”

    Sorry, but I’m not the least bit convinced it’s a cricket ball.

  • Dave
    Posted at 11:56h, 29 January Reply

    But BTW, yes I agree it’s not a “micrometeorite”. People are right when they say they don’t have the velocity and energy.

  • Bob wake
    Posted at 17:47h, 31 January Reply

    I think the best explanation is the a rock picked up by a passing vehicle’s wheel.

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