Laura Yuran and her 11-year-old son Jonathon were gazing at the Leonid meteor shower early last Sunday morning when they were almost hit by chunks of the space rocks.
They were watching the meteor shower outside their Indiana home at 4 a.m. when what felt like hailstones began to hit them. As Laura walked toward the house to get her husband Tom, a chunk of rock slammed to the ground near where she had been standing just moments before.
?It went, ?Boom!? and I screamed,? Laura says. ?Part of it hit the driveway and the second part was embedded in the ground. I was afraid to touch it.?
Tom Yuran found two rocks, one of which he had to pull out of the ground. The rocks, which are rust-colored on one side and silvery on the other, weigh a total of about two ounces.
Jim Seevers, an astronomer from Chicago?s Adler Planetarium, says the rocks are probably meteorites from the Leonids. The rust color is ?the fusion crust,? he says, which results when the rock is seared by the earth?s atmosphere.
?The rock probably chipped off and the shiny silver they see is the inside,? Seevers says. ?It?s most likely iron and nickel.?
The Yurans contacted Chicago?s Field Museum of Natural History and the curator, Dr. Menache Wadhwa, asked them to bring in one of the rocks for their geologists to examine. ?She said we?re the only ones anywhere who have reported falling meteorites from the Leonid meteor shower,? Tom says.
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