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Century-old meteorite pieces brought together for display

The exhibition examines the Strathmore meteorite, which hit Angus and Perthshire in 1917.

Meteorite: Fragment struck the Hills' cottage.
Meteorite: Fragment struck the Hills' cottage.

Pieces of Scotland's largest recorded meteorite have been reunited for the first time in a century, as part of a new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

The four billion-year-old meteorite crashed to Earth in 1917, with four fragments falling around Perthshire and Angus.

One part of the Strathmore meteorite crashed through the roof of a cottage near Coupar Angus.

The four fragments, which weigh two stone altogether, have now been reunited as part of the Down to Earth exhibition, which launched in Edinburgh on Friday.

On December 3, 1917, people as far apart as Aberdeenshire and Northumberland saw a bright, fiery light in the sky.

Exhibition: Fragments weigh two stone altogether.
Exhibition: Fragments weigh two stone altogether. STV

A loud explosion was heard over Blairgowrie and three of the meteor's fragments fell in fields, with one crashing into Keithick Lodge near Coupar Angus.

The Hill family were in the cottage at the time and found the rock had left a hole in their roof.

When Henry Coates, president of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science, went to the cottage to photograph the damage shortly afterwards he found the roof had already been repaired.

He therefore "embellished" the image by altering the negative, making it appear as if there was a hole in the roof.

Coates visited each of the fall sites and took witness accounts from everyone who saw the flash in the sky.

Peter Davidson, a curator at National Museums Scotland, said: "Down to Earth presents a fantastic opportunity to reunite all the fragments of the Strathmore meteorite for the centenary of its fall whilst bringing together eyewitness accounts of the event.

"It was these stories and recollections which enables Coates to piece together the story of the night of December 3, 1917, meaning the Strathmore meteorite is a wonderful example of observational science."

Other examples of meteorites that fell on Scotland will also feature in the free exhibition, which will run at the National Museum of Scotland until April 1.

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