Meteorite crashes through roof and lands between B.C. woman’s pillows

Story by CBC Kids News • 2021-10-15 06:00

Large meteorite falls rare in Canada, expert says


Bet you didn’t think it was possible to have a space rock smash through your roof and land on your bed.

Well, it happened.

Late at night on Oct. 3, Ruth Hamilton from Golden, B.C., woke up to the sound of her dog barking.

The next second there was the sound of a large explosion and drywall dust falling on her face.

It took a few minutes for her to find the cause: an outer space souvenir that had smashed through the roof and landed on her bed.

“I rolled back one of the two pillows I'd been sleeping on and in between them was the meteorite,” Hamilton said.

Turns out, it’s really rare for people to have close calls with chunks of debris from space. How rare? CBC Kids News asked a couple of experts to explain.

Ruth Hamilton woke up to find a meteorite had landed in her bedroom. (Submitted by Ruth Hamilton)

What is a meteorite?

A meteoroid is a solid object in outer space.

When it travels through a planet’s atmosphere, it’s called a meteor.

When it lands on a planet’s surface, it’s called a meteorite.

How often do meteorites crash to Earth?

It’s “rare” for large meteorites to land on our planet, said Peter Brown, a professor at Western University’s physics and astronomy department in London, Ontario.

He said a meteorite is typically recovered in Canada only once every four or five years.

A closeup of the meteorite that landed on Ruth Hamilton’s bed on Oct. 3. (Image submitted by Ruth Hamilton)

The probability of a meteorite hitting a house or a person is “very low,” said John Spray, director of the Planetary and Space Science Centre at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

“The last [giant] one was 66 million years ago, which was the end of the dinosaurs,” Spray said, “but nothing much has happened since then, so we’re good.”

This photo shows where the meteorite pierced through Ruth Hamilton’s roof before landing in her bedroom. (Submitted by Ruth Hamilton)

Unidentified flying object

Hamilton didn’t know it was a meteorite at first.

The RCMP officer who was sent to investigate thought it might have been debris from a nearby construction site.

He called the workers on the site.

Turns out they had heard a loud noise and seen a meteor, or a shooting star, explode.

Brown confirmed the meteorite theory.

“Everything about the story was consistent with a meteorite fall, and the fact that this bright fireball had occurred basically right at the same time made it a pretty overwhelming case.”

What’s happening to the meteorite now?

Hamilton reported the discovery to the team of experts that Brown is a part of at Western University.

Tests will be conducted to determine what type of meteorite it is and whether it came from an asteroid belt or from a larger planet in our solar system.

Hamilton said she plans to keep it once researchers are finished with it.

After all, it is a souvenir from space.

Have more questions? We'll look into it for you. Email us at

With files from Yvette Brend/CBC
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Submitted by Ruth Hamilton, graphics by Philip Street/CBC

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