On This Date: Meteor!

On November 30, 1954, the Hodges Meteorite fell through the roof of a house in Alabama, injuring Ann Hodges. It was the first time an extraterrestrial object had injured a person in the United States, and she remains the only person confirmed to have suffered directly from a meteorite strike. Read more at National Geographic.

hodges
Photo by Jay Leviton (Getty Images)

Four more, jam-packed tidbits about meteors…

A meteorite is a solid piece of matter that originates in outer space and survives the scorching trip through Earth’s atmosphere to hit the planet’s surface. A meteorite should not be confused with a meteoroid, which stays in outer space, nor with a meteor, which refers to the streak of light in the sky as a small piece of matter from outer space burns in the atmosphere.

In a not-so-clear categorization system, meteorites may be stony, iron, or stony-iron, depending on their ratio of rock and metal.

Large iron meteorites have been known to cause impact craters and destruction. Once such impact site is the Barringer Crater in Arizona, which dates back about 50,000 years.

Most meteorites are chondrites, a type of stony meteorite that was never part of a large celestial body but a clump of dust from the Solar System’s early years. Thousands of chondrites have been collected, and they represent the oldest material on our plant.

BONUS: See meteorites at the Field Museum and other museums. That collection in Chicago includes more than 7000 pieces from 1479 meteorites. And if you think you have a meteorite, the Field Museum can help you determine whether you do and what kind.

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