A woman in Golden, BC, is sharing her shocking experience of when a meteor smashed through the roof of her home and landed on her pillow — right next to where she was sleeping.
Ruth Hamilton woke up with debris all over her face around 11:30 pm on October 3. She recalled hearing a loud explosion and a dog barking, and she jumped out of bed to see if something had blown up or a tree had fallen.
The only clue about what happened was a hole in her ceiling.
“I was talking to the 911 operator, and I went back into my bedroom and flipped back my bedding to my pillow, and a rock was sitting there,” she said.
The RCMP officer who came over confirmed with local highway construction crews that no rock blasting was happening, although workers did report hearing an explosion and seeing a light in the sky.
The officer suggested to Hamilton that she may have a meteorite in her bed.
Hamilton reported the incident to two meteorite experts at universities in Alberta and Ontario.
Peter Brown, Canada Research Chair in planetary small bodies, told Daily Hive he could tell right away from photos of the rock that it had come from space.
“Meteorites are heavy for their weight, and black on the outside with an outer layer that’s melted,” he told Daily Hive. “They’re also slightly magnetic, and when broken inside, they look like cement.”
The flying rocks are called meteors when they enter a planet’s atmosphere and burn up, and then they are called meteorites once they hit the ground.
Brown said the odds of a meteor hitting someone’s bed are about one in 100 billion per year.
“It’s very, very rare,” he said.
- You might also like:
- Inside Moon and Back Gallery's massive new mesmerizing space (PHOTOS)
- A tour of Golden: BC small town named one of Canada's best
- Two spectacular meteor showers to light up Canada's skies this month
Hamilton has sent the meteorite off to be studied by Brown and colleague Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist at the University of Calgary. They’ll try to determine where the meteorite came from and its trajectory when it came to Earth.
They’re seeking video footage of the meteor, which could have appeared as a fireball in the sky around 11:30 pm on October 3. They expect dozens of meteorites could have fallen, and encouraged residents in Kelowna, Golden, and Cranbrook to check their properties.
Meteors are leftovers from some of the earliest solids that formed in the solar system, according to Brown. They form the asteroid belt, which consists of many small rocks that never became large enough to form a planet.
“They hit one another and grind down; it’s continual degradation of material being found up in the asteroid belt and thrown inward. Some hit Earth, and some get ejected from the solar system,” he said.
As for Hamilton, she was shaken by the experience and is grateful the meteor didn’t land on the other side of her bed, where she could have been seriously hurt. She’s loaned the rock to scientists until the end of November, and after that she plans to keep the rock but may eventually sell it.
She’s also gotten a friend to patch up her roof while she waits for someone from her insurance company to see if the damage will be covered. Until then, she’s sleeping in the spare bedroom.