IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 12th July 2020, 05:41 AM   #1
Shepherd
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 359
I think I found a meteorite in my onion.

This morning I was going to chop up an onion to add to the pinto beans I had soaked in my crock pot overnight, and so I opened a 3 lb bag of yellow onions that I had bought at Walmart 2 weeks ago. I grabbed one of the bigger ones which was approximately 3 inches in diameter and proceeded to cut off the top and bottom and start peeling off the papery skin. It was then that I noticed some apparently thickened yellowish areas on the layer underneath. I began cutting those off and then saw that one had an unusually dark spot in the middle of it.

I poked at the dark spot and the dark spot fell out like it was a pebble or something. After looking at the object, the pebble, more closely I decided it could actually be a small meteorite. Knowing that most meteorites have some iron content, I then found a ceramic magnet and put it to the test, and it was indeed attracted to the magnet. I could even get it to stick to the magnet in some orientations.

Unfortunately, I had continued to cut off the spot on the onion where the object had been embedded before I had thought much about it, so I had to try piecing my onion back together to see where exactly on the onion the object had been. It was apparently on the middle side at almost 90 degrees to what should have been the vertical - considering that roots are typically on the bottom side of onion bulbs, of course.

I couldn't find a piece of the onion skin with a hole in it, so it might have already been missing some skin from around the area where the object was when I first starting peeling the onion. The object had apparently pierced the papery skin and the first thick layer of the onion and had made an indention into the second layer. The inside of the first thick layer looked cratered as if the layer had been dessicated around the object. That layer was visibly thinner around where the object had been as could be seen from what would have normally been the inside of the layer. This couldn't be seen from the outside, however.

Anyway, the possible meteorite is only about 6.5 mm on its longest dimension - so not very impressive in size.

If it is a small meteorite, it's interesting to think about how it got into the side of my onion. It definitely looked like it had punched through the skin and the first fleshy layer of the onion at some point rather than having been slowly pressed into it - and from a direction approximately normal to the surface.
Shepherd is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 06:26 AM   #2
steenkh
Philosopher
 
steenkh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 6,079
An object of that size has very little kinetic energy when free-falling - which is what meteorites do when they get that far - so it is unlikely to punch through anything except possibly cobwebs.

The small metallic object would more likely be a piece worn off a farm machine when the onion was harvested.
__________________
Steen

--
Jack of all trades - master of none!
steenkh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 06:27 AM   #3
Myriad
The Clarity Is Devastating
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Betwixt
Posts: 17,070
A meteorite is a strong hypothesis. I would want to rule out all types of bullets (including e.g. slingshot pellets) before concluding it's a meteorite for certain.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 07:14 AM   #4
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 47,837
The onion bulb is an underground organ of the plant. I think the most likely explanation is a small pebble that got embedded between layers of leaf bases as they grew.
theprestige is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 07:30 AM   #5
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 23,110
As already said, the penetration power of such a small object in free fall is very small. It will not fall very fast, and it has to both penetrate some earth and the surface of the onion.

As for some kind of projectile, it needs not be the projectile proper; it could have been accelerated into the onion by a projectile hitting the ground.

If it is indeed a meteorite, it is probably a part of a somewhat larger meteorite that hit the ground nearby and shattered.

Hans
__________________
Experience is an excellent teacher, but she sends large bills.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 08:00 AM   #6
sackett
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Detroit
Posts: 6,233
Will you add it to your beans?
__________________
Fill the seats of justice with good men; not so absolute in goodness as to forget what human frailty is. -- Thomas Jefferson

What region of the earth is not filled with our calamities? -- Virgil
sackett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 08:18 AM   #7
shemp
a flimsy character...perfidious and despised
 
shemp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: People's Democratic Republic of Planet X
Posts: 38,642
What a coincidence! I once found an onion in my meteorite!
__________________
If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.
"...just as a magnet attracts iron filings, Trump shemp attracts, and is attracted to, louts." - George Will
"[shemp is] a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality." - Shakespeare
shemp is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 01:11 PM   #8
Skeptic Ginger
Nasty Woman
 
Skeptic Ginger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 84,716
Need more information:

How strongly is it attracted to the magnet?

Weakly: there are very few meteorites that are weakly attracted.

Strong attraction: there is a lot of metal, a part off farm equipment is more likely than a meteorite.

We need a picture, preferably of both sides.

6.5 mm is pretty small, it's so odd any debris from the soil would make it into an onion. As for the penetration stuff, meh. A tiny meteorite would land on the surface but then be tilled into the soil by farming activity.

Random piece of metal in the onion, 99+% likely
Meteorite, probably less than 1% likely.

But it's not zero. We need a pic.
__________________
Trump lost and he knows it.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 12th July 2020 at 01:12 PM.
Skeptic Ginger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 08:35 PM   #9
Doghouse Reilly
Adrift on an uncharted sea
 
Doghouse Reilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 3,402
Originally Posted by shemp View Post
What a coincidence! I once found an onion in my meteorite!
I once found a meteorite in the onion I found in a meteorite.
Doghouse Reilly is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th July 2020, 08:41 PM   #10
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 68,941
Meteorites are like ogres.
__________________
Please scream inside your heart.
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 04:46 AM   #11
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 26,264
What might have happened is that the object was above the onion and instead of the onion moving the object out the way when it grew it grew around it. The object might have been in the soil for a long time.

I have no opinion as to what the object is. However I suggest you look at this page that will give you an idea of what it is https://geology.com/meteorites/meteo...fication.shtml
__________________
This signature is for rent.
rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 05:08 AM   #12
Belz...
Fiend God
 
Belz...'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: In a post-fact world
Posts: 91,292
How about a picture of the thing, eh?
__________________
Master of the Shining Darkness

"My views are nonsense. So what?" - BobTheCoward


Belz... is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 05:12 AM   #13
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 94,926
I've had potatoes which have had small pebbles/large pieces of grit embedded in them. I don't grow onions but I would have thought given how they grow they would be even more prone to it, I know spring onions and leeks are. I really think the chances of this being a small meteorite is one of the less likely explanations!
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 08:21 AM   #14
gypsyjackson
Muse
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Posts: 958
Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
How about a picture of the thing, eh?
gypsyjackson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 08:27 AM   #15
Belz...
Fiend God
 
Belz...'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: In a post-fact world
Posts: 91,292
Originally Posted by gypsyjackson View Post
Ok, meteorite confirmed.
__________________
Master of the Shining Darkness

"My views are nonsense. So what?" - BobTheCoward


Belz... is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 10:49 AM   #16
Trebuchet
Penultimate Amazing
 
Trebuchet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
Posts: 29,929
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Meteorites are like ogres.
Dang, I've been struggling to come up with a way to get that reference in and you nailed it!

As others have said:
Likely a bit of iron off farm machinery.
Pictures needed.
If an actual meteorite, it didn't punch its way into the onion, it was already in the onion which grew around it.

I'll also note the OP hasn't been back since the first post.
__________________
Cum catapultae proscribeantur tum soli proscripti catapultas habeant.
Trebuchet is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 10:31 PM   #17
steenkh
Philosopher
 
steenkh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 6,079
Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I'll also note the OP hasn't been back since the first post.
He or she may have been discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm for the theory displayed by the forum members.

I actually wanted to be more encouraging by pointing out that it is known that tiny meteorites rain down over us all the time, and there was an article in Sky & Telescope (I think) about micrometeorites you could find in your rain gutter, but I didnít because a few issues later experts raised doubts about all the samples of the article.

But in general, you would need to look at the crystal structure of the meteorite in order to find out if it really is one. So Shepherd should try to saw through the tiny piece of metal and look at it with a good magnifying glass.
__________________
Steen

--
Jack of all trades - master of none!
steenkh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 10:52 PM   #18
PhantomWolf
Penultimate Amazing
 
PhantomWolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 19,948
One way to tell is that Meteorites have a heat crust on them where the material has melted on entry.
__________________

It must be fun to lead a life completely unburdened by reality. -- JayUtah
I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. -- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

PhantomWolf is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th July 2020, 11:04 PM   #19
Skeptic Ginger
Nasty Woman
 
Skeptic Ginger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 84,716
Originally Posted by gypsyjackson View Post
__________________
Trump lost and he knows it.
Skeptic Ginger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:47 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.