Photo/IllutrationA meteorite that landed in a residential area in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture (Provided by the National Museum of Nature and Science)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KOMAKI, Aichi Prefecture--A rock that apparently smashed into the roof of a house here in September has been confirmed as the first meteorite to hit a building in Japan in 15 years.

The fist-sized specimen, measuring 10.5 centimeters by 8.5 cm by 4.5 cm and weighing 550 grams, is thought to date from about 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was formed, according to the National Museum of Nature and Science.

The museum verified the rock’s origin after receiving a request to analyze it, and it has been named the Komaki meteorite.

Shingo Naito, 71, who lives at the house where the meteorite landed in the city’s Komatsuji district, recalled the incident occurring when he was in bed and about to fall asleep shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 26.

“I heard a big ‘whump,’" he said. "I have lived here for nearly 40 years, and it was the first time I’d heard such a sound.”

The next morning, Naito’s wife discovered the rock on the ground by the front door, and their garage roof, 5 meters from where the meteorite was found, had a hole in it. No one was injured.

“This is a residential area, so it is lucky that the rock did not hit anyone,” Naito said.

The last meteorite to hit a building in Japan fell in Hiroshima in 2003 and was named the Hiroshima meteorite.

If certified, the Komaki meteorite will be the 52nd to be recognized in Japan. The 51st, the Nagara meteorite, fell in Gifu in February this year.

The museum is soon expected to apply to register the latest rock at the Meteoritical Society, an international organization for meteoritics and planetary science.

(This article was written by Jin Nishikawa and Hisashi Homma.)