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Meteor strikes might kill people this weekend

Tips by Burleson Consulting

August 11, 2006

With the Perseid meteor shower peaking this weekend, many people claim that this may be a good weekend to take-cover from deadly meteorites.  This weekend will see up to 60 meteors falling per hour, some of which may hit the ground at over a thousand miles per hour.

Here is video simulation of a meteor strike (Meteorite film) of what a meteorite impact might look like, if you are unfortunate enough to be up close.  However, meteorite strikes are quite rare.

Cases of people being hit by meteorites?

Most folks don't want to hear about it, but many people have been hit or injured by falling meteorites.  It's interesting that these reports may be frauds and fakes, since none of these reports has ever been verified as an actual meteorite strike.

Still, they make interesting reading.

Here is a newspaper story where two people were killed by a falling meteorite:

"J. R. Hicks, a storeheeper, related Saturday that he stood in front of his store and saw a ball of fire shooting from the sky. It landed on the roof of William Peator's house he said.  Mrs. William Peator, 43, and Ramond Ford Jr., her one year old nephew were killed."

This newspaper article documents some near-misses and injuries:

"In August 2004 Lowestoft woman Pauline Aguss, 76, was left with a gash on the arm after being hit by a meteorite."

This article called Death by Meteorite also notes the risks and newspaper reports of people being injured and killed by falling meteors:

"A man was struck by an aerolite and instantly killed. It appears the meteor had come from a direction a little west or south, and fell obliquely at an angle of about sixty degrees, for it passed through a fall maple, cutting the limbs as clean as if it has been a cannon ball, and then struck him apparently on or under the shoulder, passing through him obliquely from below the right shoulder to above the left hip, and buried itself about two feet in the soft black ground."

This 2005 close encounter with a meteor was noted in 2005 in Omaha Nebraska.  Watch the TV interview with the victim here.

"It came over my head, probably, about a foot and a half. I could feel the breeze," Kinzie said. "It was silver and it kind of had red and black on the back of it and smoke...

I stood here looking at it, 'cause it was still glowing."

This newspaper article also notes a near-miss meteorite that sounded like a thunderclap and buried a meteor several feet beneath a concrete driveway:

"He definitely heard the rock that landed in his driveway about three weeks ago. It sounded like a big thunderclap so he didn't think much of it at the time.

"I got up in the morning and saw the hole and said, 'What the hell is that?'"

This report says a man missed being killed by a meteorite by only five feet:

"Pat Lee was working outside the Tool Time Rental building on South Main Street Saturday when he heard a bang.  A rock had struck the south side of the building, about five feet from where Lee had been working."

The reports of meteor encounters are plentiful, and this report documents another near-miss with a man:

"Denis Lakic was awoken when his cat fell out of a tree about 3am and was outside, trying to tie up his dog, when he heard a whooshing sound above.  "Something banged down on the earth a couple of metres from me""

Despite the risks of being killed by a meteorite, thousands of people are planning to watch the Perseid meteor shower this weekend.  Yearly cometary meteor showers such as Geminids,
Perseids, Leonids, etc. have NEVER produced a verified meteorite, because the tiny particles do not reach the ground.

The great meteor show this weekend

If you want to see the meteor shower, get away from city lights and witness this spectacular yearly show, fun for the whole family.  This article explains the amazing meteor show this weekend:

"Under ideal conditions, including years where there is little or no moonlight during the meteor shower, viewers can expect to see 50 to 60 meteors per hour. This year, Duncan said viewers can expect about 10 per hour.

Perseids are fast meteors and tend to be fairly bright on average. An occasional fireball is seen, but these seem to depend on the luck of the draw.

Best viewing window: Saturday evening, August 12, from the end of evening twilight through Sunday morning, August 13.

Rates for most observers will probably top out at around 15-30 Perseids per hour, with a few sporadic and minor shower meteors added to the mix. Die-hard observers may be watching on adjacent nights; unfortunately, there are no Moon-free periods this year."

While it's clear that meteor strikes are deadly, they fall randomly and it's quite rare to be stricken, so you might as well enjoy the show.



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