|Fall date||26 April 1803|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
In the early afternoon of 26 April 1803 a meteorite shower of more than 3000 fragments fell upon the town of L'Aigle in Normandy, France. Upon hearing of this event the French Academy of Sciences sent the young scientist Jean-Baptiste Biot to investigate that spectacular fall of stones. After painstaking work in the field he reported two kinds of evidence pointing to an extraterrestrial origin for the stones:
- Physical evidence: the sudden appearance of many identical stones similar to other stones fallen from the sky in other places
- Moral evidence: a large number of witnesses who saw a "rain of stones thrown by the meteor"
Biot's passionate paper describing how these stones must undoubtedly be of extraterrestrial origin effectively gave birth to the science of meteoritics. The L'Aigle event was a real milestone in the understanding of meteorites and their origins because at that time the mere existence of meteorites was harshly debated, if they were recognised their origin was controversial, with most commentators agreeing with Aristotle that they were terrestrial, and witnessed meteorite falls were treated with great skepticism. The meteorite has since been stored along with Angers, another meteorite that struck France 19 years later, in a room at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle d’Angers, a French natural history museum.
Composition and classification
It is a L6 type ordinary chondrite.
- Meteoritical Bulletin Database: L'Aigle
- M. Gounelle. The meteorite fall at L'Aigle on April 26th 1803 and the Biot report.
- Pierre-Louis Augereau (2002). Angers Mystérieux (in French). Éditions Cheminements. p. 45. ISBN 2-84478-055-5.