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4.5 Billion Year-Old, Rare Meteorite Crashes Through Hopewell, New Jersey Roof

Imagine coming home to find a meteorite in your bedroom.

By Matthew Jackson
Liz Meteor with colorful tail GETTY

A family in Hopewell Township, New Jersey got a quite a surprise last week when they discovered that an object which crashed through their roof and into their home was not just a rock, but a very rare meteorite direct from space. Thankfully, it wasn't quite as large as the planet-buster in Asteroid vs. Earth, streaming on Peacock.

Suzy Kop told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week that she stopped by the Hopewell home last Monday a little after noon to find a rock on the floor in one of the bedrooms of the residence, which is owned by her father. But it wasn't just any rock. The find was accompanied by the discovery of two holes in the bedroom ceiling, and when Kop picked the object up, she discovered it was warm.

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That's because, as local scientists from the College of New Jersey later determined, the object had crashed through the home's roof just minutes earlier, bounced off the floor, and dented the ceiling a second time before coming to a stop in the bedroom. No one was home when the rock crashed into the house, and the structure wasn't significantly damaged by the 4-by-6-inch object. But naturally, its very presence led to questions. 

Out of caution, Kop called local police, who reached out to the physics department at the College of New Jersey to let them know about the discovery. Later that week, Kop brought the rock to the College, where it was analyzed by experts including Shannon Graham, an assistant professor of physics. Based on their analysis, including viewing samples of the rock under an electron microscope, Graham told the Inquirer that the physicists realized Kop's find was not just a meteorite, but a very rare stony chondrite meteorite. According to Graham, only about 1,100 such meteorites have been found on Earth, and this particular specimen probably originated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. 

As for its age, Graham estimated that the meteorite is probably roughly 4.5 billion years old, making it a very interesting thing to land in a New Jersey home indeed.

“It’s basically leftover debris from the formation of the solar system,” Graham said, “so it’s pretty cool.”

For now, the meteorite is back home with Kop and her family, who declined to say what they plan to do with it next. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the sky even when you're indoors. You never know what might drop in. 

Looking for more meteorite fun? Check out Asteroid vs. Earth, now streaming on Peacock.