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Celestial population boom

Large meteoroids probably more common than telescopic surveys suggest

12:46pm, September 4, 2009

The number of car-to-house-sized meteoroids whizzing through the Earth’s neighborhood is about 10 times higher than Earth-based telescopic surveys suggest, a new study reveals.

That finding, reported online August 28 and in an upcoming Journal of Geophysical Research–Planets, comes from analyses of recently declassified data on infrasonic waves in the atmosphere detected between November 1960 and April 1972. The network of instruments collecting the data was originally designed to detect low-frequency sound waves produced by aboveground nuclear tests, says Elizabeth Silber, a planetary physicist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada.

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