Meteorite burns a German cottage?

Meteorite burns a German cottage?

Meteorite burns a German cottage?

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 28 2006 6:19 PM

Meteorite burns a German cottage?

Reading Bob's Junk Mail (yes, you should subscribe right away; I like Bob), I came across a comment that a German guy was burned when his cottage caught fire... due to a meteorite.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

My Spidey-sense always tingles when I read stuff like this. It never ever pans out. Meteorites, from everything I have so far read, just aren't hot when they hit the ground unless they are big. Little ones slow down way up in the atmosphere, and then just fall at terminal velocity. That may be a hundred or more kilometers an hour, which is fast, but not that fast.


In this article about the German guy, it says they think the meteorite that started the fire was 10 mm in size. That's less than half an inch! Way too small to still be hot when it hit.

Witnesses say they saw an arc of fire before the cottage burned, and the article does say it happened during an annual meteor shower... but there is nearly always a meteor shower. On October 10, the night of the incident, there are actually seven different showers. Those are all minor showers (the Orionids, a bigger shower, didn't start fro another few days).

So what was this? I doubt seriously it was a meteorite. Sounds to me that someone was playing with fireworks or something like that. It's happened before.

If anyone hears anything more on this, please let me know.