Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Science, Vol. 15, No. 380 (May 16, 1890), pp. 304-305


A remarkable meteor, or meteoric shower, passed over this State at 5.30 P.M., Friday, May 2. In spite of the brightness of the sun, shining at the time in a nearly cloudless sky, the light of the meteor was very noticeable. Its great size, powerful illumination, discharge of sparks, comet-like tail three to five degrees in length, and the great train of smoke which marked its course for a full ten minutes after its passage, made a strong and lasting impression on the minds of all who saw it. Unfortunately the clamor over an exciting game of ball prevented the many members of the college who saw it from making as careful observations as they would otherwise have done: so it was impossible to tell whether its passage was accompanied by sound or not, although farmers near here report a faint hissing noise. It appeared to enter the atmosphere about twenty to thirty degrees south of the zenith, and, descending at an angle of about fifty to sixty degrees, passed below the horizon north-north-west of this place. By telegraphing, one small meteorite weighing one-fifth of a pound, and several fragments from a 70-pound one, were secured, and analyses and microscopic sections at once made. They contain a large amount of metal for the “stone” class of meteorites.

The many exaggerated and excited reports make it difficult to get at facts: so it seems best for the present to make only a preliminary statement and analysis, until we can make a full and accurate report on this last and highly interesting Iowa meteor.