Introduction to the MIAC 'slide' set


This set of images was originally produced as a set of slides by the Education Sub-Committee of the Meteorite and Impact Advisory Committee of the Canadian Space Agency (formerly a committee of the National Research Council of Canada) with the help of the Geological Survey of Canada. Slides of most of these images are available as a set from the Geological Survey of Canada. 

Fall of Ensisheim meteorite, 1492 AD

The ENSISEIM meteorite fell in a wheat field near the town of this name in Alsace, France on November 6th, 1492. It was a daylight fall (11:30 am) and followed a loud detonation. For many years the meteorite was hung on display in the local church (seen in the Wood Cut) on the orders of King Maximillian I who pointed to it as clear evidence of the divine approval of his political and military activities. (Original source unknown).

Major mass of Ensisheim.

Although initially on display in the church, many fragments of the original mass which was about 127 kg, have been chipped off over the years and the remaining major mass is now only about 55 kg and is currently on display in the Old Town Hall ('Hotel de Ville'/'Rathaus') of Ensisheim. It is seen in the slide with the Custodian. The meteorite is a brecciated LL6 chondrite. Fragments have found their way into many of the major meteorite collections in the world. (Courtesy Dr. Peter M. Millman, 08 Sep 79)

Temple at Ephesus.

St. Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles (Ch. 19, v. 35), mentioned that the temple at Ephesus contained an idol that fell from Jupiter. Meteorites were often incorporated in the sanctuaries of temples and we know also that the Greeks venerated meteorites. EPHESUS is listed in Granam, Bevan & Hutchinson's 'Catalogue of Meteorites' as 'doubtful' and no existing meteorite has been definitely linked to the temple at Ephesus. (from a painting by Harold Oakley, In: 'Wonders of the Past', 1924, J.A. Hammerton, G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York & London)

Ancient coin reliefs.

Shown here is an imperial coin of Emesa, in Syria with a conic 'Aerolith' being carried on a quadriga or four-horse chariot (lower left). Detail (upper centre) shows the accompanying image of an eagle, an emblem of majesty and power. Also shown (lower left) is part of an old Cypriot coin depicting the temple of Aphrodite at Paphos in Cyprus. In the middle is a pyramidal meteoritic idol of the goddess whose planet is seen at the top in the arms of the crescent moon. There is a discussion of these and other such depictions of meteorites from antiquity in the article by E.M. Antoniadi, 'On Ancient Meteorites and on the origin of the crescent and the star emblem' J. Roy. Astron. Soc. Canada (1939) v. 33, p. 177-184, from illustrations in which this image was partially composed.

MIAC Slide Group and Michael Higgins