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Barringer Meteor Crater

Listed under Astronomy in Southwest Desert, United States.

  • Photo of Barringer Meteor Crater
  • Photo of Barringer Meteor Crater
Photo of Barringer Meteor Crater
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The Barringer Meteor Crater, often simply referred to as 'Meteor Crater' is the most famous and well preserved example of an impact crater in the world. Situated east of Flagstaff, Arizona the crater is a massive 1.2km across and 175m deep and is thought to have been formed around 50,000 years ago by the impact of a 50m diameter iron-based meteorite.

The crater site has a visitor centre atop the rim of the crater which contains a museum with information about the Barringer crater and meteorites in general but the show-stealer is of course the crater itself. There are several observational facilities provided including viewing platforms extending out over the edge of the crater and telescopes allowing a closer look at features of interest across the crater. Entry to the crater site also includes a guided 'rim walk' along a section of the crater's edge. Unfortunately it is not possible to enter the meteor crater and walk along its floor but the sheer scale of the Barringer crater is an amazing glimpse at the awesome power of meteors and something not to be missed.

And for those astronomers staying in the local area the desert of Arizona, with an average 350 cloudless days a year, is an excellent place for stargazing too.

Written by  Anna Dejardin.

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