Hands Off My Meteorite!

A Bavarian court ruled on Friday that an amateur German astronomer can hang on to a chunk of meteorite that was found in Austria, much to the dismay of the Austrian Town Council of Reutte.

Karl Wimmer, a Bavarian physicist, discovered the otherworldly treasure in the Austrian stretch of mountains that border with Germany. It was a targeted search following the meteorite's crash to Earth in April 2002.

However, it's not every day that extraterrestrial items turn up in your back garden, and the Reutte council cried foul.

Not one to be intimidated, Mr Wimmer hung on in there, and after protracted deliberations, Judge Franz Woerz ruled that "extraterrestrial material does not come from another part of the Earth" and hence it cannot be deemed state property. ''There is no earthly right to heavenly property" he concluded.

Karl was over the moon with the result, and the physicist has added that he would be more than happy to part with his cosmic catch, provided that the Vienna Natural History Museum pays him the modest sum of 300,000.


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