It's a meteorite. No, it's a rock. No, it's a meteorite!
The hard, gray, golfball-sized entity found in the side yard of a Novato pastor's house, proclaimed Sunday to be a meteorite and then quickly re-identified as just a rock, has once again been identified as a space rock.
"An apology may have been too hasty. Lisa's (Webber) find is a genuine meteorite," Peter Jenniskens, a NASA-affiliated meteor hunter at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, wrote on his blog in his most recent entry, which contradicted an entry earlier this week in which Jenniskens recanted his first judgment of the rock as a meteorite.
Lisa Webber, 61, a nurse at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, found the rock last week in the side yard of the home she shares with her pastor husband, Kent Webber, on St. Francis Avenue in Novato's Pleasant Valley neighborhood. Jenniskens Sunday proclaimed the rock as the first fragment found from the meteor shower that exploded over the Bay Area last week.
Explaining his second change of heart, Jenniskens said of the Novato rock: "Corroborating evidence came from a second find just like it. On Monday, meteorite hunter Brien Cook of Sacramento found a second (65-gram) stone just like Lisa's, at a location in Novato 2.5 miles southeast of Lisa's find.
"... (Cook) cut the stone in two and after posting the result found wide support in the meteorite hunter's community that this was an ordinary chondrite, albeit an unusual one.
"We are in the process of finding out exactly what type of meteorite we are dealing with here ... but we now understand that the layered structure of the fusion crust that made me doubt myself is not the result of terrestrial weathering," Jenniskens posted.
It's a breath mint. It's a candy mint. It's ... a meteorite? Stay tuned to see if this latest identification holds.