Visiting Meteorites in Africa

 reports in on a road trip through southern Africa during which he visited a number of impact craters and meteorites. To quote him: Southern Africa is a fascinating part of the world, containing many astronomical highlights. It hosts the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere (the 11-meter Southern African Large Telescope or SALT) and it will be home to the mid-frequency part of the largest radio observatory in history (the Square Kilometre Array or SKA), both of which I described in a previous travel blog. But this part of the world is also a paradise for cosmic impact aficionados. For starters, here you will find the largest meteorite known, weighing in at over 60 tons. It’s hard to miss: just west of Grootfontein, Namibia, there’s a large turnoff sign on highway B8 saying “Meteorite”. The gravel road takes you to the Hoba West farm, where the giant slab of iron and nickel, measuring some 2.7 meters across, lies at the center of a small artificial amphitheater.