Two Hagerstown, Md. best friends and professional meteorite hunters refuse to give up in the search for the meteorite that was seen falling from the sky last week in the early morning hours.

Since 13 hours after the meteorite was seen July 6 just after 1 a.m., Derick Bowers and Jason Moats have been scouring the Hanover and New Oxford areas looking for small pieces of what fell from the sky.

Bowers' love of meteorite hunting began when he was 10 years old.

"I realized you could actually possess a star," he said.

And that excitement hasn't waned, even after almost a week of searching to no avail.

People from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland reported seeing a fireball cross the sky and fragment, said Robert Lunsford, operations manager for the American Meteor Society.

Lunsford said he believes he meteor was the size of a basketball based on witnesses' description of it being brighter than the moon. Most meteors are the size of the thimble.

The sonic boom that people heard and felt was created when the meteor entered the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound, Lunsford said. It was probably traveling 20 miles to 25 miles a second.

Bowers said the sonic boom was heard in the Hanover and New Oxford area, which means the fragments of the meteorite are within a 10 mile radius.

Bowers and Moats are just two of the 25 professional meteorite hunters that have been searching the area in the past week.

The two friends' lives revolve around what they see as a treasure hunt.


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Every morning they look to see if meteorites have fallen anywhere in the country and often times hop a few flights to get on the ground as soon as possible.

While some of the pieces they find are keepsakes, Bowers said they sell some online to pay the bills and make his wife happy.

Most meteorites fall out in Arizona, where Bowers and Moats said the "hub" for findings and research is. Monday's meteorite is the closest hunt to their homes that they've conducted.

A sense of excitement and giddiness fills the air as the two talk about how a piece of the sky fell less than 40 miles from their backyards.

Even with the large number of professionals in the area, Bowers and Moats said finding the meteorite fragments will fall into the hands of local residents.

The two men, as well as the other professionals, have been searching public land and asking for permission from private residence owners to search for the fragments.

The biggest issue they face is the fact that they believe no one knows what to look for when they throw out the word meteorite.

Bowers held up two meteorite fragments he found 20 days after they fell in Texas this past February as an example. The two small pieces looked like black rocks. Meteorites will be drawn to magnets, and Bowers and Moats said they're willing to come investigate any pieces local residents might find.

The two said they think it's fallen into a cornfield or field and won't be found until the harvest.

Bowers and Moats are also looking for any video recordings of the meteorite taken Monday morning. Using the video and camera image they already have, they believe a third video would allow them to triangulate the meteorite's location to within a mile.

As time moves on, the Arizona-based professional hunters will move on, but Bowers and Moats vow to keep looking until the pieces are found.


TO HELP

Pieces of the meteor that fell early Monday morning will look like burnt pieces of rock and will be drawn to magnets. Anyone thinking they may have found one can contact Derick Bowers at (301) 728-4892 or e-mail him at jackstraw922@msn.com.

On the blog

- Dense 'The Shrewsbury' meteorite named after York County town where it was found. Read more at York Town Square.