13 June 2009

Vocabulary In the News: Boy Hit by Meteorite

I’m trying a new technique for vocabulary; instead of giving you the definitions in French or English at the end of the article, I’m adding direct links to a webpage with the definition. The hope is that you will expand your vocabulary by discovering other uses or variations. I can’t do all the work for you! ;-) You will have to explore some pages to find the definitions.


SPACE.com Staff
Fri Jun 12, 9:45 am ET

A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar.

"When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road," Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports.

Most meteors vaporize in the atmosphere, creating "shooting stars," and never reach the ground. The few that do are typically made mostly of metals. Stony space rocks, even if they are big as a car, will usually break apart or explode as they crash through the atmosphere.

There are a handful of reports of homes and cars being struck by meteorites, and many cases of space rocks streaking to the surface and being found later.

But human strikes are rare. There are no known instances of humans being killed by space rocks.

According to a SPACE.com article on the topic a few years back:

  • On November 30, 1954, Alabama housewife Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch when she was awakened by a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor that crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off a piece of furniture and struck her in the hip, causing a large bruise.
  • On October 9, 1992, a large fireball was seen streaking over the eastern United States, finally exploding into many pieces. In Peekskill, New York, one of the pieces struck a Chevrolet automobile owned by Michelle Knapp. Knapp was not in the car at the time.
  • On June 21, 1994, Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and ended up in the back seat.
  • In 2004, a 2,000-pound space rock bigger than a refrigerator exploded in the late-night sky over Chicago, producing a large flash and a sound resembling a detonation that woke people up. Fragments rained down on that wild Chicago night, and many were collected by residents in a northern suburb.

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