Deep Impact, Armageddon aside, meteor strikes not uncommon - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Deep Impact, Armageddon aside, meteor strikes not uncommon

(AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru). In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru). In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

What are the chances your home or business might be struck by a meteorite here in South Carolina? The chances may be better than you think.

You may be surprised to know a meteor may have struck the Palmetto State days before the strike in Russia.

Most were shocked by the meteor streaking across the Russian sky. Then there was another sighting not so far away in south Florida, and another one near San Francisco this past weekend. These sightings lead many to ask just how common are meteorites?

"Just go a few tens of miles away from Columbia, and you can see you can really have a treat for your eyes by seeing a beautiful meteor shower, but to have a meteor crash to the earth that is of this significant size, that's pretty rare," said Dr. Varsha Kulkarni, an astronomy professor at the University of South Carolina.

Scientists estimate the meteorite that struck Russia is a once in a hundred year occurrence.

"It's not juts the size of the actual object, but the speed with which it comes in and the momentum that it carries that really gives it the power," said Kulkarni.

Your homeowners policy covers you for storm damage or a slip and fall inside your home, but not damage from outside like a flood, but what about a meteorite?

"Homeowners policies do cover falling objects of any sort, satellites, meteorites, whatever it may be, there is a provision to cover falling objects," said Russ Dubisky with the South Carolina Insurance News Service. 

While there are no early warning systems for meteorites, there are telescopes trained on the night sky watching for such occurrences. Six known meteorites have struck the Palmetto State since 1843, and at least two sightings were reported to the American Meteor Society Thursday night

A meteorite can be as small as the size of a quarter or as big as the one that struck Russia.

Luckily, you don't have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to see a meteorite. Just check out the State Museum.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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