Meteorite slams into Cape businessman's roof
Cape Town - He heard a loud thump and thought it was an intruder trying to steal from his furniture shop. Never in his wildest dreams did he think the “intruder” was from a galaxy far away.
Fagrie Allie, who owns a furniture store in Paarl, was closing his shop when “I heard a loud thump along with a shattering sound and at first I thought It was an intruder but I saw the store was empty and I thought maybe one of the pieces of furniture had fallen over but I saw nothing”.
He then saw dust particles coming from the ceiling but didn’t take note at first.
“It bothered me because it was a really loud bang. I got into the ceiling and when I looked up at the roof sheets I saw a hole in the roof sheet itself. I came back down and found small pieces of rock lying on the floor,” Allie said.
He took pictures of the rocks and sent them to the University Of Cape Town's geology department where they confirmed that they are in fact meteor fragments.
“It had travelled at tremendous speed to burn a hole through the roof. When I discovered what it was I googled for more information and it said there’s a one in four billion chance that they can come through the building,” Allie said.
Last Friday the South African Astronomical Observatory announced that meteors would be visible between 2am and 4am. Meteorite sizes differ from small grains to 1 metre wide. Meteorites travel typically in excess of 20km/sec. A meteor is also often referred to as a shooting star.
UCT department of geology Professor Johan Diener said: “Meteors are very common and because of the speed they travel at they break up into small particles and don't make it through the atmosphere.”