Shooting stars are a true wonder of the universe. Most meteors burn up before they reach earth so you are more likely to win the lottery than be hit by one. Yet in these 13 incidents people beat the odds to come face to face with space.
#1 Michelle Knapp, New York, 1992
This red Chevy Malibu was crushed by a football-size rock but it was not the first car to face a deep impact as in lllinois in 1938 another meteorite crashed through the roof of a garage and struck a vehicle.
#2 Ann Hodges, Alabama, 1954
Mrs Hodges was rudely awakened when a 7lb meteorite crashed through her roof, bounced off her radio and hit her thigh. Her troubles continued with a lawsuit from her landlady over who was the rightful owner. “The meteorite is mine,” Ann said: “After all, it hit me!”
#3 Stray Dog, Egypt, 1911
During the Nakhla meteorite shower over Alexandria Mr Hakim reported he heard a “terrific noise” then saw a fearful column of white smoke hit earth, turning an unfortunate dog into ashes.
#4 Unnamed Boy, Mbale, Uganda, 1992
During this famous meteor shower a boy was hit on the head by a tiny meteorite fragment. He was uninjured as its speed had been slowed by passing through the leaves of a banana tree.
#5 Gerrit Blank, Germany, 2009
On his daily walk to school, a hot, pea-sized rock came from nowhere and hit Gerrit on the hand. Reflecting on his experience – which left him with a three inch scar he said: “I saw a large ball of light, and suddenly felt a pain as there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder”.
#6 Unknown Monk, Tortona, Italy, 1677
A journal from this year says that “one of those stones projected from the clouds” killed a Milanese friar, striking him in the thigh. When the wound was inspected a small stone was found inside, described as being the colour of brick.
#7 David Leisure, West Virginia, 1897
Newspapers reported the noise was heard for 20 miles and this unfortunate gentleman was knocked unconscious. He was not the only reported casualty – a horse was crushed, while another went deaf.
#8 Wedding Party, Yugoslavia 1929
The New York Times on Dec. 8, 1929, reported that a wedding received a surprise guest, a meteorite had fallen into the midst of the party.
#9 Evenki Nomads, Tunguska, 1908
In this spectacular event, what a giant meteor blazed through the Russian sky and exploded in a fireball which flattened forests, blew up houses and killed animals within a 13 mile radius.
#10 Colby Navarro, Illinois, 2003
During this meteor shower over Chicago Navarro was working at his computer when this fragment fell through his roof and hit his printer, leaving a large hole. The original rock was estimated to have been the size of a car. Other fragments were reported to have damaged six other houses.
#11 The Village of Barwell, 1965
Britain experienced a large shower of meteorite fragments which fell over the Leicestershire countryside. One fragment broke through Mr and Mrs Grewcock’s window. However the timing averted disaster for if it had hit a few seconds later it would have hit Leicester City on Christmas Eve and caused huge damage.
#12 Ensisheim, France, 1492
In this, the oldest recorded meteorite encounter an alleged 330-pound rock fell from the sky into a wheat field, witnessed by a young boy.
#13 Mr Brits, Namibia, 1920
In 1920, Mr Brits accidentally collided his plow with this enormous meteorite, which remains a tourist attraction today.
NASA predict that the earth can expect something in the region of 400 meteor impacts over the next 100 years, so the next close encounter could well be on its way.