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Close encounter: No one's inside NJ home when meteorite crashes through it; woman walks in minutes later and asks, 'What in the world has happened here?'

Image source: Hopewell Township (N.J.) police

Suzy Kop told WPVI-TV she was left dumbfounded Monday upon finding a sizeable rock on the bedroom floor of her dad's house in Hopewell, N.J. — along with noticeable damage.

“I’m looking up on the ceiling, and there’s these two holes,” she added to the station. “I’m like, 'What in the world has happened here?’”

The first hole in the ceiling...Image source: WPVI-TV video screenshot

...and the second holeImage source: WPVI-TV video screenshot

Indeed, what happened was not of this world, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

What are the details?

Scientists on Thursday determined that a dark, 2-pound, 4-inch by 6-inch meteorite punched through the home's roof and ceiling before denting the floor, the paper said.

A white patch covers the spot where the meteorite hit the home's roofImage source: WPVI-TV video screenshot

Image source: WPVI-TV video screenshot

In fact, Shannon Graham, an assistant professor of physics at the College of New Jersey, told the Inquirer that the likely reason for two holes in the ceiling was that the fast-moving meteorite bounced off the hardwood floor and hit the ceiling again before landing back on the floor.

Image source: Hopewell Township (N.J.) police

Close encounter

The paper said no one was home at the time of impact — around 12:14 p.m., based on reports of a loud noise at that time, as well as a "flight streak."

But Kop had herself what you might call a close encounter. The Inquirer said she arrived at her dad's home not long after impact and found the meteorite at 12:35 p.m.

Image source: WPVI-TV video screenshot

Kop called Hopewell police for guidance, the paper said, and Graham got word about the strange rock from the department.

By Wednesday, Kop was transporting the unidentified (formerly) flying object to the College of New Jersey in Ewing, the Inquirer said, adding that Graham examined it with physics department chair Nathan Magee and Jerry Delaney, a retired meteorite expert from Rutgers University.

With the help of a scanning electron microscope, the paper said the trio identified the specimen as a stony chondrite meteorite which likely came from the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Graham added to the Inquirer that the meteorite is likely more than 4.5 billion years old: “It’s basically leftover debris from the formation of the solar system, so it’s pretty cool.”

More from the paper:

Time for a brief vocabulary lesson, courtesy of NASA. Asteroids are large chunks of rock in space. A meteoroid is a small piece that has broken off of an asteroid. If it enters Earth’s atmosphere, it is then called a meteor. And if the object survives its high-speed, fiery journey through the atmosphere to reach Earth’s surface, it is called a meteorite.

Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Philadelphia-based Franklin Institute Science Museum, told USA Today that objects fall into Earth's atmosphere all the time — but it's rare when one hits a home.

"Here's an instance where a sizable object has not only fallen in a populated region, it also hit a house, and it was immediately collected by the occupants," Pitts told USA Today. "The instance of that happening you can count on one hand over the last 1,000 years, maybe."

Anything else?

In case you're wondering, the Inquirer said the meteorite is back in the possession of Kop and her sister, Christine Lloyd.

But Lloyd declined to comment when the paper asked what the family planned to do with their otherworldly visitor.

The following report aired prior to scientists declaring it a meteorite:

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