Meteor near-misses and strikes
- Peekskill Meteor: October 9, 1992. This famous fireball was seen
and filmed across several eastern states. It broke up into many
fragments, one of which hit the trunk of Michelle Knapp's 1980
Chevy Malibu. When Ms. Knapp investigated a crash sound outside her
Peekskill, NY home, she discovered the damaged trunk and found a
warm 12-kg meteorite lying beside the car.
- Spaulding near-miss. 7:00 p.m., Aug. 31, 1992, Noblesville,
Indiana. Brodie Spaulding (13) and Brian Kinzie (9) were talking in
Spaulding's yard when they suddenly heard a low-pitched whistle
followed by a thud. Spaulding said he first heard the strange sound
over his right shoulder, but events happened so fast that he did
not actually see anything. He walked 3.5 meters to where a small
black stone lay in a crater about 9 centimeters wide and 4 cm
deep. The rock, he said, felt slightly warm. Spaulding contacted
Purdue University to have the rock analyzed, where its cosmic
origin was confirmed. "When I sit down and think about it," said
Spaulding, "it was kind of scary."
The picture also shows Purdue chemist Michael Lipschutz
photographing the boys in the spots they were standing when the
meteor hit. The arrow shows the location of the small crater.
- Donahue near-miss. Nov. 8, 1982, in Weathersfield,
Connecticutt. Robert and Wanda Donahue settled down for a quiet
evening watching television. About halfway through M*A*S*H, they
heard a loud crash from the front of the house. They ran into the
living room to find a hole in the ceiling and plaster dust and
smoke everywhere. Moving outside, they saw a hole in the roof. They
called the fire department and ten minutes later, a fireman found a
six-pound, five-inch meteorite under the dining room table. The
stone had ripped through the roof and living room ceiling, bounced
off a carpeted wooden floor (cracking a support beam for the floor
in the process), traveled up through the ceiling a second time
into the attic, came down through the ceiling in the dining room,
knocked over furniture and dented a wall before coming to rest
under the table. Six more small fragments of the meteorite were
later found in the Donahue's vacuum cleaner, which Mrs. Donahue had
used to tidy up the house a bit before all the scientists and media
- Hodges meteorite. November 30, 1954, Sylacauga, Alabama. Annie
Hodges was napping on her couch when an eight-pound stony meteorite
crashed through her roof. It bounced off a large console radio and
hit her in the arm and then the leg, leaving her badly bruised.
- On the afternooon of June 21, 1994, Jose Martin and his wife,
Vicenta Cors, were driving in Spain from Madrid to Marbella. As
they zoomed past the town of Getafe, a three-pound meteorite smashed
through their windshield on the driver's side, ricocheted off the
dashboard, and bent the steering wheel, breaking the little finger on
Martin's right hand. It then flew between the couple's heads and
landed on the back seat. Other than the broken little finger, they
- Horse fatally struck: May 1, 1860, New Concord, Ohio.
- Dog fatally struck: June 28, 1911, Nakhla, Egypt.
- First car struck: September 29, 1938, Benld, Illinois. The
meteorite crashed through the roof of the garage, then through the
roof, back seat, and wooden floorboards of a car, before bouncing
off the muffler and lodging the the seat cushion.
Last modified: Tue Oct 26 09:47:51 CDT 1999