Forget chocolates: What’s a better way to show that special someone your appreciation for them than with a heart-shaped meteorite? For a hefty sum, the 320 million-year-old rarity could be yours.
British auction house Christie’s announced the so-called “Heart of Space” will be up for auction starting Feb. 6 through Feb. 14, which also happens to be Valentine's Day.
The out-of-this-world specimen, according to Christie’s, “originates from the biggest meteorite shower of the last several thousand years.” An estimated 320 million years ago, the meteorite was part of a “giant iron mass” that detached from "its parent body in the asteroid belt" and floated through space before one fateful day in February 1947, the auction house explained.
At that time, the larger meteorite crashed into the atmosphere before “it began to break apart and created a fireball brighter than the Sun as it sailed over the Sikhote-Alin Mountains in Siberia,” Christie's said.
The explosion destroyed chimneys, shattered windows and even pulled trees from their roots. People more than 180 miles away reported hearing sonic booms, while a roughly 20 mile-long smoke trail “persisted in the sky for several hours.”
“Many of the resulting meteorites produced impact craters as large as 26 meters [85 feet] — with nearly 200 craters having been cataloged,” the auction house added.
The event produced two different types of Sikhote-Alin meteorites, according to Christie's. Some are “ jagged and twisted shrapnel-like specimens” which means they likely exploded at a lower altitude. But the “more sought-after” meteorites are “gently scalloped specimens that broke free at a much higher altitude and formed the aerodynamic thumbprints known as regmaglypts.” The Heart of Space falls in the latter a category.
The meteorite was obtained from New York's Macovich Collection of Meteorites and will likely sell between $300,000 and $500,000.