Part of the Nakhla Meteorite, 1911.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Approximately 5 cm long, this piece of meteorite is held by the Natural History Museum in London. It is one of approximately 40 stones that fell near to Nakhla, Egypt in 1911, as a result of a meteorite burst in the atmosphere. The fragments ranged in weight from 20g to 1813g. An apocryphal story reports that one hit and killed a dog. Meteorites are fragments left over from the violent formation of the solar system, which orbit the sun and occasionally impact upon the surface of the Earth or other planetary bodies. They typically have a high metallic content.