Officials at Yale Peabody Museum have confirmed that a baseball-sized rock that crashed through a Wolcott, Conn., family’s roof was a meteorite.
Wolcott homeowner Larry Beck was watching television with his wife last Friday night, when he heard a sound “like a gunshot,” local televisions station WFSB reports. A rock had rifled through the couple’s roof, damaging copper piping and cracking their kitchen’s ceiling before coming to a halt.
"It sounded like a gunshot but it was louder bang," Beck told WFSB. "We looked up and saw the ceiling coming down and broke away the sheet rock in the dining room."
On Saturday morning, Beck called the Wolcott Police Department to report that a baseball-sized rock had crashed through his house the previous night. At first, he assumed that the rock was merely a piece of runway concrete dropped by a passing aircraft, as the family’s Wolcott home lies close to a pair of airports.
However, a friend convinced Beck to have the rock examined at Yale University’s Peabody Museum, which found that the projectile was actually a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, The New York Daily News reports.
At first, Wendy Taylor, the Becks’ daughter, couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
"[My mother] told me and I made her repeat it like four times because I'm like, 'A rock?'" Taylor told WFSB. "'A rock came through your roof and into the house?' It just didn't make any sense."
The Becks weren’t the only local residents impacted by the rare meteorite strike. Several residents of nearby Branford, Conn., called police to report “hearing a loud boom” around the time of the impact, The Daily News reports. The frightening sound may have been caused by the meteorite’s fracture while passing through the Earth’s atmosphere.
At the time of the impact, the meteorite was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed.
"For this to crash through asphalt shingles, the roof, smash copper pipe, crack a ceiling, it was moving very quickly," Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens told WFSB.
Taylor expressed relief that the meteorite didn’t cause further harm to Connecticut residents. "Very lucky it happened when it did because someone really could have gotten hurt," she said.