A team of Clemson astrophysicists is studying a meteorite which they believe struck a Georgetown County home.
Astronomy professor Sean Brittain told South Carolina Radio Network he got an email from a homeowner Melanie Casselman. “When they first saw the rock laying in their yard they thought that maybe someone was throwing stones at their house or something, but they noticed that there was a notch taken out of the eave on the roof where the rock had fallen,” he said. “It looked like the rock had fallen out of the sky, so they looked online.”
The meteorite hit the Pawleys Island home sometime around Sept. 26. Brittain said he had Casselman do some simple tests on the rock and email him some photos of it which allowed him to determine it was indeed from outer space.
“We were able to show it was attracted to magnets, so it had some iron content to it,” Brittain said.
Brittain looked at all of the 26 images from various angles emailed to him and became almost certain that the ball of iron and rock was a meteorite. To confirm, Brittain looped in physics and astronomy colleagues Brad Meyer and Máté Ádámkovics. At Clemson, Meyer researches the isotopic composition of meteorites while Ádámkovics has interest in the moons of Saturn.
Clemson University is working with Casselman to arrange tests that will determine the meteorite’s age and composition and also make deductions about its history and origin.
Brittain said that it’s not uncommon for something like this to happen, but it garners little attention since most meteorites fall into bodies of water.
“Every day, something like 50 to 100 of these rocks are hitting somewhere on Earth,” Brittain said.