A reported 10-ton meteor rocked Russia earlier today when it entered our planet’s atmosphere, streaked across the sky and then exploded on impact causing a sonic book that could be heard and felt for miles. As I understand it, the meteor strike has not caused any fatalities (because it landed in the ice-frozen tundra of Siberia) but it is being blamed for anywhere between 400-900 (or more) injuries. Thanks to the constant presence of video cameras, there has been an influx of stunning video which captured the meteor as it flew across the sky — which you can see below. It’s pretty crazy stuff. You’re gonna wanna check it out.
Bright objects, apparently debris from a meteor, streaked through the sky in western Siberia early on Friday, accompanied by a boom that damaged buildings across a vast territory. Russia’s Interior Ministry said more than 1,000 people were hurt, 200 of them children, mostly from shards of glass that shattered when the meteor entered the atmosphere. Many of the injuries were suffered by residents of the city of Chelyabinsk, about 950 miles east of Moscow, in a region where many factories for defense, including nuclear weapons production, are situated. But there was no indication of damage that resulted in any radiation leaks, officials said. Russian experts believe the blast was caused by a 10-ton meteor known as a bolide, which created a powerful shock wave when it reached the Earth’s atmosphere, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement. Scientists believe the bolide exploded and evaporated at a height of around 20 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface, but that small meteorite fragments may have reached the ground, the statement said. The governor of the Chelyabinsk district reported that material from the sky had fallen into a lake on the outskirts of a city about 50 miles west of Chelyabinsk … Fiery meteors like this are not unusual, but they typically evaporate far above the surface of the earth, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in its statement. This meteor was unusual because it was so hard, and may have been made of iron, the statement said. Nothing similar has been recorded on Russian territory since 2002. Video clips from the city of Chelyabinsk showed an early morning sky illuminated by a brilliant flash, followed by the sound of breaking glass and multiple car alarms. Meteorites typically cause sonic booms as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. On Friday, the force was powerful enough to shatter dishes and televisions in people’s homes. “I saw a flash in the window, turned toward it and saw a burning cloud, which was surrounded by smoke and was going downward — it reminded me of what you see after an explosion,” said Maria Polyakova, 25, head of reception at the Park-City Hotel in Chelyabinsk. A video made outside a building in Chelyabinsk captured the astonished voices of witnesses who were uncertain what it was they had just seen.
A man named Artyom, who spoke to the Moscow FM radio station, said the explosion was enormous. “I was sitting at work and the windows lit up and it was as if the whole city was illuminated, and I looked out and saw a huge streak in the sky and it was like that for two or three minutes and then I heard these noises, like claps,” he said. “And then all the dogs started barking.” He said that there was a blast that caused balconies to shake and windows to shatter. He said he did not believe it was a meteorite. “We are waiting for a second piece, that is what people are talking about now,” the man said … The government response on Friday was huge. Seven airplanes were deployed to search for places where meteorites might have fallen and more than 20,000 people dispatched to comb the area on foot, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. There were also 28 sites designated to monitor radiation. No unusual readings had been detected, the ministry reported.
There have been reports that the meteor was “shot down” by Russian defense weaponry but there has been no official confirmation … instead, that part of the story sounds a bit like fabricated exaggeration. What is NOT a fabrication is that a larger asteriod is currently heading in the direction of Earth but NASA SWEARS that we have nothing to worry about because altho the asteriod (reportedly half the size of a football field) will pass near Earth’s orbit, there is “no chance” that it will make impact. Here’s what NASA has to say about that asteroid, named 2012 DA14:
Small near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass very close to Earth on February 15, so close that it will pass inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office can accurately predict the asteroid’s path with the observations obtained, and it is therefore known that there is no chance that the asteroid might be on a collision course with Earth. Nevertheless, the flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close. Here are the facts about the safe flyby of Earth of asteroid 2012 DA14 — a record close approach for a known object of this size.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 is in no way related at all to the Russian meteorite that struck today, NASA promises:
According to NASA scientists, the trajectory of the Russian meteorite was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object. Information is still being collected about the Russian meteorite and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14′s trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north.
Is this not the craziest thing you’ve ever seen/heard? It all sounds like stuff from movies. When the first videos of this Russian meteor strike were making the rounds late last night, I wanted to discount their validity … but there were just too many of them from too many different sources. I’m really happy to hear that no one was killed but it’s crazy that so many people were injured by this incident. Had the meteor struck a populated area, the outcome could’ve been much worse.
Keep your heads up, y’all. You never know when the sky might fall … for reals.