Christie's announces the auction of a rare heart-shaped meteorite will be between Feb. 6 and Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine's Day.
The 9-inch long meteorite originated from one of the greatest meteorite showers in several thousand years. It was part of an enormous iron mass that detached itself from the asteroid belt and glided through space before landing in Sikhote-Alin Mountains, Siberia, on Feb. 12, 1947.
The Big Bang Of Meteorites
The auction house website revealed that after penetrating the Earth's atmosphere, the large meteorite broke into smaller meteorites and blazed over Siberian mountains in a fireball that was as bright as the sun.
The website also notes that the iron mass explosion disintegrated chimneys, shattered the windows, and uprooted the trees. A 20-mile smoke trail was seen suspended in the sky for hours, while sonic booms could be heard as far as 200 miles following the crash.
"Many of the resulting meteorites produced impact craters as large as 26 meters [85 feet] — with nearly 200 craters having been catalogued," the auction house added.
'Heart Of Space' Costs A Bomb
Christie's explains that not all meteorites found in the Sikhote-Alin are as attractive as the "heart of space." The ones that broke away from the main body at a lower altitude are twisted and uneven, looking more like shrapnel than a desirable heart-shaped artifact.
However, Christie's prized possession may have split at a much higher altitude, forming aerodynamic indentations, known as regmaglypts.
Sarah Crowther, from School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, told CNN that "heart of space" belongs to a rare group of iron meteorites known as IIAB.
"There are currently 134 type IIAB iron meteorites, out of a total of over 60,000 known meteorites, so this type is fairly rare," Crowther said.
She also added that for an iron meteorite, the price is rather high. Other pieces belonging to the same meteorite cost in the range of $1 to $4 per gram.
The high value of this meteorite can be attributed to its unique shape, the regmaglypts, and the size of the specimen, Crowther explained.
The auction house expects to sell "heart of space" for somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000.