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meteorite hits Blank, German teen


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A 14-year-old German lad survived a close encounter with a meteorite when a pea-sized piece of rock which had entered Earth's atmosphere at 30,000 mph left him with nothing more than a "nasty" three-inch gash on his hand.

According to the Telegraph, Gerrit Blank was on his way to school in Essen when a bright light in the sky heralded the arrival of the red-hot space rock. It bounced off his hand before embedding itself in a foot-wide crater in the ground.

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Blank recounted: "At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand. Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder."

"The noise that came after the flash of light was so loud that my ears were ringing for hours afterwards. When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road."

Subsequent tests on the teen-bashing space pea proved its provenance. Ansgar Kortem, director of Germany's Walter Hohmann Observatory, confirmed: "It's a real meteorite, therefore it is very valuable to collectors and scientists.

"Most don't actually make it to ground level because they evaporate in the atmosphere. Of those that do get through, about six out of every seven of them land in water."

Blank joins an exclusive club of meteorite-strike survivors, with a total membership of two. In 1954, Ann Elizabeth Hodges was having a kip on her sofa in Sylacauga, Alabama when a 3.86 kg meteorite came through the roof, bounced off a radio and caused her some serious bruising on one side of her body.

source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/12/meteorite_strike/

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Everything in this story is fraudulent.

Meteorites are NOT blazing white hot when they land, but actually cold as their internal space temperatures are around -250F. Real fresh falls are either mildly warm or still cold enough to have frost.

A true meteorite goes dark about 35 miles high when its speed slows subsonic. This would have been many miles from the point of impact. There would have been 10,000s of people reporting the event, not just him. The youth could not have seen the "onrushing lump of matter" rushing towards him as a blazing stone in order to react to it. Pea sized meteors will slow to a terminal velocity of about 60-80 mph the same as dropping it from a skyscraper, not 30,000 mph.

The stone would have stung his hand like a pellet gun, but not left a scar. It would not be possible to feel the "pain in my hand" before it hit the ground. Stones this small NEVER make craters, not even one foot in length in the road.

The sonic boom would have been heard by the boy long before the slowed meteorite would have reached him, not after.

This statement is an impossible scenario; “At first I just saw a large ball of light and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand,” explained the teenager after his lucky escape, “Then a split second after that, there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder.”

A hit hand would not knock him off his feet, nor would a sonic boom originating from 35 miles away (where the stone would become subsonic) leave "his ears ringing for several hours".

The only thing true is that the boy has a pea sized meteorite and a scratch on his hand.

The whole account is fictional.

Bill Peters

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  • 4 weeks later...
Everything in this story is fraudulent.

Meteorites are NOT blazing white hot when they land, but actually cold as their internal space temperatures are around -250F. Real fresh falls are either mildly warm or still cold enough to have frost.

A true meteorite goes dark about 35 miles high when its speed slows subsonic. This would have been many miles from the point of impact. There would have been 10,000s of people reporting the event, not just him. The youth could not have seen the "onrushing lump of matter" rushing towards him as a blazing stone in order to react to it. Pea sized meteors will slow to a terminal velocity of about 60-80 mph the same as dropping it from a skyscraper, not 30,000 mph.

The stone would have stung his hand like a pellet gun, but not left a scar. It would not be possible to feel the "pain in my hand" before it hit the ground. Stones this small NEVER make craters, not even one foot in length in the road.

The sonic boom would have been heard by the boy long before the slowed meteorite would have reached him, not after.

This statement is an impossible scenario; “At first I just saw a large ball of light and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand,” explained the teenager after his lucky escape, “Then a split second after that, there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder.”

A hit hand would not knock him off his feet, nor would a sonic boom originating from 35 miles away (where the stone would become subsonic) leave "his ears ringing for several hours".

The only thing true is that the boy has a pea sized meteorite and a scratch on his hand.

The whole account is fictional.

Bill Peters

No comment on your science, but terminal velocity is irrelevant if a object hits the atmosphere going 30,000mph. If the mass is sufficient it will defeat the coefficient of friction, slowing some but NOT significantly. The pea size obviously started somewhat larger. Give the kid a break; 9.81M/per second SQUARED... the object took more then a few seconds to cut through the earths atmosphere. Eye witness accounts refute your cold meteorite theory... think... the stone hitting the road would make a significant sound, under the circumstances it may have sounded like thunder to this child. The friction of the stone going through the road material would cause this pea to glow with heat for a short time. I am not validating the account I am saying your science is not well stated.

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Guest bedrock bob
No comment on your science, but terminal velocity is irrelevant if a object hits the atmosphere going 30,000mph. If the mass is sufficient it will defeat the coefficient of friction, slowing some but NOT significantly. The pea size obviously started somewhat larger. Give the kid a break; 9.81M/per second SQUARED... the object took more then a few seconds to cut through the earths atmosphere. Eye witness accounts refute your cold meteorite theory... think... the stone hitting the road would make a significant sound, under the circumstances it may have sounded like thunder to this child. The friction of the stone going through the road material would cause this pea to glow with heat for a short time. I am not validating the account I am saying your science is not well stated.

Accounts of the Portales fall indicate that seconds after the stones fell they were "too hot to touch". The stones mass, the length of time they were exposed to the friction of the atmosphere, and time spent in dark flight would all be important factors. A pea sized rock would not retain the "cold" of space and would have more heated surface area (by ratio) than a larger rock... Mass is all important when changing temperatures.

The retention of velocity has a lot to do with fall angle. A steeply inclined object spends less time in flight and therefore heats up less and is traveling faster. A flatter trajectory spends a longer time in flight and heats more. The steeper object will arrive at a greater speed unless it has slowed completely to terminal velocity. The longer an object spends in "dark flight" the cooler the surface would be (more time after peak friction). Also, ablating action carries away heat. If the surface ablates slowly, more heat will be retained. These are the principals used to engineer the re entry systems of space vehicles. It would stand to reason that it would work the same with meteors.

Incidentally, the tiles on the shuttle are very hot for several minutes after re entry, even though they are light carbon material that conducts heat poorly. Of course things are cool by the time the craft lands. Internal temps on the leading edges of the wings and nose cone elevate dramatically. No mass there so it does not approximate a piece of stone, but it gets hot on the inside never the less.

The way I see it mass and entry angle would make a heck of a lot of difference in "hot or cold" and "fast or slow".

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Hey cow killer... :) ha, agreed on your comment, my son linked me to your "killer cow" story... very funny stuff! Good fortune in the future.

- RT

EDIT: I should point out, Cutthroat is my account, the son. When I read the story about the German kid and the guy's response, I did not think his comments made any sense. But, my father is a geologist so I asked him about it and he expressed an interest to reply himself (via my forum account).

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