Meteor hunt fever grips Shangri-La

Liang Wenxi China Plus Published: 2017-10-12 15:37:05
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Shangri-La in Yunnan Province has been gripped by a feverish hunt for a fireball meteor which was observed on October 4, 2017. It was seen at around 8 p.m. as local residents were viewing the full moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival. Videos capturing the phenomenon which lasted only a few seconds have gone viral on the Internet.

A fireball meteor is seen over southwest China's Yunnan Province on October 4, 2017. [File Photo: Weibo.com]

A fireball meteor is seen over southwest China's Yunnan Province on October 4, 2017. [File Photo: Weibo.com]

Some "hunters" have claimed to have pieces of it, and have put them up for sale for high prices. As yet scientists haven't confirmed the meteor's existence and are still investigating, reports 163.com.

"It was caused by a heavenly body, which was very small in comparison to an asteroid," said researcher Wang Xiaobin from the Yunnan Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, adding that such incidents are not unusual. Wang explained that a spectacular fireball usually occurs when a meteoroid burns up on entering the atmosphere.

Following the sighting, fireball meteor "hunters" from home and abroad, including scientists, general enthusiasts and speculators flocked into Shangri-La with SUVs, GPS, metal locators and drones.

Associate professor Zhu Wei from the China University of Political Science and Law says such objects become the property of the finder, as it comes from outer space.

A fireball meteor is on sale on one of China’s e-commerce websites Taobao.com. [Yunnan.cn]

A fireball meteor is on sale on one of China’s e-commerce websites Taobao.com. [Yunnan.cn]

As the hunting frenzy intensified, sales of Shangri-La fireball meteor have appeared online for anything from 10 yuan up to 20,000 yuan (about 1.5 to 3,034 US dollars). Xu Weibiao, chief scientist from the Purple Mountain Observatory said any fragments offered for sale online could be counterfeit as the Shangri-La fireball meteor has not been confirmed yet.

It's also reported that the Yunnan provincial Public Security Bureau and Administration for Industry and Commerce are undertaking an investigation.

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