August 20, 2014

19.05.11: “Incoming!” Meteorite Strikes House in Polish Town.

X Marks the Soltmany Fall. (Credit: CIA World Factbook).

Ahhhh… nothing makes the astro-news like a “House-strikes-space rock” story. Amid many dubious claims of low-flying rocks heard over the Chesapeake and striking lawns in New Jersey over the past few weeks, a quiet but amazing story of a meteorite strike came our way from “across the pond…”

On April 30th at 6AM local, something curious occurred in the tiny Polish town of Soltmany, Poland. While one Mrs. Alfreda and her daughter enjoyed a morning coffee, a loud crash was heard. Upon searching the property, a fist-sized hole was found in the roof and debris was identified scattered over a 4 meter wide area. The jury is still out on the scientific analysis, but the pictures of the largest one kilogram fragment has all of the visual hallmarks of an honest to goodness meteorite. Note the smooth black fused crust caused by heated ablation as the rock tore through the Earth’s atmosphere in its final moments. A video was also posted on You Tube from a local news source; yes, it’s in Polish, but watching it, you pretty much get the idea;

Like the Peekskill fall that struck the trunk of a car in 1992, meteorites striking houses or automobiles are rare, but not unknown. Nothing else on the web seems to spark pandemonium like “meteor fever” as legions of space rock hunters mobilize to chase after any fiery fall. This is just one example of how, on occasion, the heavens reach out and touch us!

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