It is named for the mountain range in remote eastern Russia where it famously fell in 1947, the largest magnitude iron meteorite fall in recorded history. At around 10:30 on February 12, eyewitnesses observed a bolide brighter than the sun hurtling through the sky. It is estimated to have been travelling at 31,000 miles per hour and hit the earth with a flash and deafening sound observed for 190mi (300km) around the point of impact.
An estimated 70 tonnes of material survived the fall and remained prized by collectors for their sculptural qualities and surface features.
Shrapnel specimens, such as the one offered at Duke’s sale on December 6-7, feature sharp edges of torn metal, which show evidence of violent fragmentation as it tore away during atmospheric explosions or blasted apart upon striking the frozen ground.
It is one of six meteor lots in the sale, including a cubed Mars sample.
Duke’s specialist Marc Allum said of the 44lb (20kg) Sikhote-Alin fragment: “Examples of this size are much, much rarer and as a result far more expensive. Their appeal is both other-worldly with a strong sculptural aesthetic and at 4.5bn years old they generate sheer wonder. This is the ultimate ‘one-off’ item for a serious collector with a fascination for other-worldly items. Its elemental beauty continually draws your in.”
Complete Gemini spacesuit sells in New York
At last night’s Space Exploration sale in Sotheby’s New York, a complete Gemini spacesuit, including helmet, boots and gloves, sold for a premium inclusive $162,500 (£127,481). It included elements made for Pete Conrad and Frank Borman, made from 1963-65. It is the most complete suit known to have come to market.