HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A metallic object that punched a hole in the roof of a central New Jersey home this week, smashing into a hardwood floor and bouncing around a bedroom, was a meteorite, experts announced Thursday.
Scientists with The College of New Jersey determined the 6-by-4-inch object, which weighs about 2.2 pounds, is a rare stony chondrite meteorite. They came to that conclusion after conducting a visual examination, making density measurements and scanning electron microscope images. They were assisted in their work by Jerry Delaney, a retired meteorite expert from Rutgers University and the American Museum of Natural History.
“Getting the chance to examine the meteorite (Wednesday) was a rare and thrilling opportunity for me, as well as for a group of physics students and professors at TCNJ,” said Nathan Magee, chair of the school’s physics department. “We are excited to be able to confirm that the object is a true chondrite meteorite, in excellent condition, and one of a very small number of similar witnessed chondrite falls known to science.”
The family that owns the home discovered the black, potato-sized rock in a corner — still warm around 12:30 p.m. Monday. The experts believe it hit the home a short time before it was found.
Nobody was hurt, and there was no serious damage to the residence, said police in Hopewell Township, north of the state capital of Trenton.
Suzy Kop, whose family owns the home, said they initially thought someone had thrown a rock into an upstairs bedroom Monday, but they soon realized that wasn’t the case. Kop said hazmat officials responded to their home to check it out along with her family, in case they had been exposed to some type of radioactive material, but those checks were all negative.