Plaque to mark Barwell Christmas Eve meteorite unveiled

A green plaque marking the surprise arrival of a large meteorite in the village of Barwell on Christmas Eve in 1965 has been unveiled at the junction of Chapel Street and Dawson's Lane - close to the site of the meteorite fall.

On that day, more than 100lb of space rock fell to Earth, landing in the small village. The pieces found scattered across houses and streets on Christmas Day sparked a frenzied meteorite hunt. The fragments are still being studied by the Natural History Museum and are also highly sought after by collectors.

The late Dr Jack Meadows, who passed away earlier this year, led one of the parties searching for fragments. The international media attention and a paper in Nature co-authored by Jack have ensured the association of Astronomy with Leicester ever since.

Jack became Professor and Head of the Department of Astronomy and History of Science in 1971.

Jack received several prestigious honours in his lifetime, including being awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the City University, and being made a Life Vice-President of the Library Association. He was one of the world’s most influential information scientists and, at a conference in his honour at Cranfield University in 1999 on “Is there a future for Informatics? A strategy for the 21st Century”, many speakers mentioned their personal experience of and high regard for Jack. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in his honour - Asteroid 4600 Meadows.

Last year Dr Leigh Fletcher from the Department of Physics and Astronomy was interviewed by the BBC about the Barwell meteorite, suggesting that every story and piece of the meteorite connects Barwell to something much bigger.

Dr Fletcher said: "It's the debris from the birth of our solar system. It's no wonder people keep a piece of it tucked away in a box."