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“Meteorite hits boy” very doubtful
Posted: 12 June 2009 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]
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News is appearing today about a German boy supposedly grazingly hit by a small meteorite:

Secondary, English translated News item

original source in German

The story doesn’t add up however and it is likely a hoax.

The events the boy describes fit well with the “Hollywood” image of a meteorite fall. However, they do not fith with the true reality of a meteorite fall:

1a) meteorites do not arrive at earth surface “red hot”;

1b) meteorites do not cause burn marks;

2) a meteorite of this small size will not create a seizable crater of the size described in some of the news reports (I have not been able to locate the original German news report: only translated secondary sources like the one linked above)  pictured in the Original Source in German;

3) after the illuminated phase of a meteor, the meteorite enters a dark flight/free fall which takes several minutes to complete;

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Posted: 12 June 2009 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In other words some kid with a slingshot a block away was tossing pebbles into the air randomly and one of them happened to come down and graze this other kid as he stepped over a pothole.

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Posted: 12 June 2009 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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And of the rock were “glowing hot” and he poured a drink on it, wouldn’t it most likely crack or shatter from the sudden temp change? (And if it was THAT hot and actually hit him, it would have burned a hole through is hand, not left a little red mark!) big surprise

I’m probably just being cynical, though. smirk

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Posted: 12 June 2009 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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gray - 12 June 2009 05:54 PM

In other words some kid with a slingshot a block away was tossing pebbles into the air randomly and one of them happened to come down and graze this other kid as he stepped over a pothole.

I actually think the boy is an attention-seeker who made it all up. Or needed an excuse for his parents for the burn on his hand.

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Posted: 12 June 2009 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I would sort of expect a grazing hit from a meteorite to look similar to a bullet’s graze.  And that injury on his hand just doesn’t quite look right.  Not that that’s really conclusive of anything, since such wounds can be rather weird on occasion.

LaMa - 12 June 2009 08:14 PM

I actually think the boy is an attention-seeker who made it all up. Or needed an excuse for his parents for the burn on his hand.

Or both.

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Posted: 13 June 2009 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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danbloom - 13 June 2009 07:18 AM

It really happened. It is certainly not a hoax.

How do you know it is ‘certainly’ not a hoax, especially with the points brought up here by other posters?

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Posted: 13 June 2009 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Boo - 13 June 2009 09:27 AM
danbloom - 13 June 2009 07:18 AM

It really happened. It is certainly not a hoax.

How do you know it is ‘certainly’ not a hoax, especially with the points brought up here by other posters?

Prediction on next post from Dan:

Those points are just made to supress the facts.

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Posted: 13 June 2009 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Beasjt - 13 June 2009 10:08 AM
Boo - 13 June 2009 09:27 AM
danbloom - 13 June 2009 07:18 AM

It really happened. It is certainly not a hoax.

How do you know it is ‘certainly’ not a hoax, especially with the points brought up here by other posters?

Prediction on next post from Dan:

Those points are just made to supress the facts.

Or “I was just kidding”...

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Posted: 13 June 2009 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Phil Plait did a really good job discussing the claims over at his bad astronomy blog

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/12/a-boy-claims-he-was-hit-by-a-meteorite/

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Posted: 13 June 2009 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Razela - 13 June 2009 04:00 PM

Phil Plait did a really good job discussing the claims over at his bad astronomy blog

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/12/a-boy-claims-he-was-hit-by-a-meteorite/

This is one of the rare times that I do not agree with Phil and actually feel he did not do that good a job at all…

His explanation about fragments being excellerated by break-up etcetera is incorrect for example. Such breakup occurs above 15 to 25 km altitude, and the fragments then are slowed down by atmospheric friction to subsonic speeds. They are basically in free fall and have no residual speeds from the break-up event anymore when arriving at earth surface. And especially these kind of small fragments are slowed down considerably (to speeds

< 100 metre/second) as they have a large surface to mass ratio and hence experience considerable atmospheric breaking.

Really

nothing in the report confirms to what truly happens and is possible with a small meteorite. So I see no reason to conclude anything else but: it is bogus!

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Posted: 13 June 2009 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I would still appreciate an answer to my question.

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Posted: 14 June 2009 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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danbloom - 14 June 2009 03:39 AM

I was quite serious this time. I think this one rings true.

The problem with it all is that the story doesn’t add up.  Yes, it could be a meteorite.  But nothing matches up to it being a meteorite that fell, hit the boy, and then made the crater.

For one thing, there’s the meteor and the crater.  That little meteor looks to weigh only a few grams.  For it to have made a crater the size reported in hard pavement, it would have had to be moving at absolutely incredible speed.  With that sort of kinetic energy, it would have sent shrapnel flying all over and done a good bit of damage.  Plus there wouldn’t have been anything left of the meteor.  At regular meteorite speeds, it would have needed to be a much larger object (baseball sized, perhaps?  I don’t really know enough about the things to make a good estimate other than “larger”), in which case there would be bits and pieces of the meteor all over the street there.  So why is there only mention of the one little scrap?  Plus a large one wouldn’t have made just a little narrow burn on his hand.

Then there’s the injury.  It doesn’t fit the scenario.  For one thing, it’s being reported as a “10 centimeter burn”.  If that injury in the photo is 10 centimeters, then that kid must have giant hands.  So it seems that the reports may be a bit sloppy in their fact-gathering.  But aside from that, such an injury isn’t consistent with any known past meteorite strike.  A woman in Sylacauga, Alabama was hit by a meteorite the size of a coconut.  It left bruises, not burns, nor did it burn anything else around it.  Other probable cases didn’t involve burns, either.  When the Benld meteorite hit a car, it lodged itself into the car’s seat.  But it didn’t burn it at all.

Nor does that injury look quite right for a grazing injury.

There’s not even been any confirmation that there was an actual meteorite found, or anything else like that.

So what makes you think it is all true?

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