Meteor Blast Rocks Russia

by Jason Major on February 15, 2013

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This just in: reports of bright meteors and loud explosions have been coming from Russia, with the incredible video above showing what appears to be a meteor exploding in the atmosphere on the morning of Friday, Feb. 15.

A bright meteor witnessed over Russia on Feb. 15, 2013

A bright meteor witnessed over Russia on Feb. 15, 2013

According to Reuters the objects were seen in the skies over the Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions.

“Preliminary indications are that it was a meteorite rain,” an emergency official told RIA-Novosti. “We have information about a blast at 10,000-meter (32,800-foot) altitude. It is being verified.” UPDATE: The Russian Academy of Sciences has estimated that the single 10-ton meteor entered the atmosphere at around 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and disintegrated 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) up. Nearly 500 people have been injured, most by broken glass — at least 3 in serious condition. (AP)

Chelyabinsk is 930 miles (1,500 km) east of Moscow, in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

Preliminary reports on RT.com state that the meteorite “crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the city’s internet and mobile service.” 150 minor injuries have also been reported from broken glass and debris created by the explosion’s shockwave.

ADDED: More videos below:

Contrails and explosions can be heard here, with breaking glass:

Over a city commercial district:

And yet another dash cam:

Watch the garage door get blown in at the 30-second mark:

Here’s a great summary from Russia Today

This event occurs on the same day that Earth is to be passed at a distance of 27,000 km by the 45-meter-wide asteroid 2012 DA14. Coincidence? Most likely. But – more info as it comes!

Read what Phil Plait has to say about this on his Bad Astronomy blog here.

News source: Reuters. H/T to Matt Arnold.

About

A graphic designer living in Providence, RI, Jason writes about astronomy and space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News and here on Universe Today.

  • alex mccleavage
  • peterjmc
  • ren00r

    Is it hard to compare the entry trajectory of this one with DA14 2012? If it’s more or less the same, I’d say there’s high probability that it was broken off piece.

    • gnark1ll

      They come from totally different directions. The near miss will be coming from the SW travelling NE in the sky, where this is came NE to SW.

      Its an utterly remarkable coincidence!

  • torque xtr

    No relation to DA 14, this one flew from northeast to SW in the predawn hours, thus came from inner system, from behind and from above the ecliptic, and possibly it was just few times smaller! Just bitin’ my nails with the thought that it hasn’t been spotted earlier. If it would, I’d forget everything and rush there by plane or by train, given enough time. But since the (noticeable by early missile detection satellites) impacts occur several times per year and asteroid-detecting sysems are getting better, I guess we will have another chance quite soon :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Frushour/758114941 Kevin Frushour

      You’re probably right, but just tossing out maybe part of a swarm accompanying it? A very long term orbiting moonlet?

      • torque xtr

        No chance, DA14 comes from below the ecliptic, and this one – from above, their heliocentric orbits are retrograde to each other, and that means relative velocities on the order of tens of km/s – a month ago they have been 100 million miles apart :-)

        • http://www.facebook.com/rdpuerto Rodolfo DelPuerto

          With all respect, to me it looks like it was coming from the opposite orientation you were saying earlier. Look at the video above “And yet another dash cam:” http://youtu.be/4ZxXYscmgRg. At 10 seconds, you can see the sunrise (SE in Winter) shining in front of the camera, just as the object pops up a little bit higher on the horizon in the proximities of Chelyabinsk City (55° 9? 17? N, 61° 22? 33? E). So, to me this object is related to the bigger one (2012 DA14) http://youtu.be/URfr3Np6ELM passing by in a few hours, even if NASA and ESA says the contrary and even though I know I might be wrong.

      • lcrowell

        The two are not likely related. It is not absolutely impossible, for maybe the meteoroid passed close to a significant gravity field in the past and spalled due to tidal forces. If so then the two orbits are separated by an anomaly angle or time on a trajectory. However, I think the probability of this is very small.

        LC

        • Olaf2

          Even if the orbit would happen to align, the timing that they coincide to hit earth in only a few hours would be nearly zero.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Frushour/758114941 Kevin Frushour

    And of course CNN.com has the cruise ship coming into port at the top of their screen and I had to dig for this.

  • Martin_Lambert

    This is getting interesting… So far one 6m crater has been found, hundreds (yup) of people are injured and hundreds of buildings are damaged. Check out Russia Today’s website for some live coverage if it’s not all over the place yet.

    • torque xtr

      They’ve rushed to the windows, attracted by the flash, and then got cut from shattered windows. No trustworthy reports of found meteorites, and it’s unlikely since the object was probably a comet – and if the explosion was above Chelyabinsk, the debris field should be 20-40 km south.

      Missile defence, heh… I would much more like the comments that it’s brutal Russian New Year fireworks or someone St. Valentine’s gift delivered by utterly slow Russian Post Service…

      Not entirery unfeasible, btw, launch an ion drive with some hundred kg of xenon by lightweight lifter like Rokot or SpaceX’s Falcon, attach it to one of those NEAs, lift a boulder from it’s surface to act as gravity tractor…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Frushour/758114941 Kevin Frushour

        “They’ve rushed to the windows, attracted by the flash, and then got cut from shattered windows.”

        Good point.

  • gnark1ll

    I wouldnt use RT as a source, because they also claim that the Russians ‘shot down’ the Bolide with a SAM….

  • Charles French (WPMCB)

    Amazing ! The Russians really like their dash cams, thats pretty cool.

    • Zoutsteen from Holland

      those are to make life easier when having car accidents. call it a car’s blackbox cam. Since no one drives onto the road to make one, the idea is that you didn’t cause the accident you were in and the dashcam can prove it.
      And of coarse, it got byproducts such as these vids or other stories you happen to drive by on the road. So there isn’t really a “never used” product in your car.

  • newSteveZodiac
  • ?????????? ???????

    The wall of the factory has been ruined by the blast wave, not by a piece of that meteorite. Also they report up to 300 people injured.

    *I’m Russian

  • Aqua4U

    My earlier comment related to 2012 DA14, about wearing gold undies and a hard hard doesn’t seem all that far fetched now? This is DEFINITELY a WAKE UP! call…. or should be anyway…. Instead will probably be forgotten by the GP in a week or so? Never-the-less, a very exciting event!

    Tagunska mk II? Am wondering what inferences are possible? What does this event say about Tagunska I? Were there any radar soundings made by Russian air traffic control or military?

    • http://twitter.com/JPMajor Jason Major

      According to the news, this was the largest observed meteor explosion since the 1908 Tunguska event.

      • Aqua4U

        There have been other bolides reported… or noticed by *.sat obs. anyway. But these have been over the ocean and caused no damage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.ramsey.140 Susan Ramsey

    If it was going that fast as they said, wouldn’t it cause a lot more damage?.

  • Dav_Daddy

    In Russia many of the insurance companies mandate that you run a dash cam so they can see what happened in the event of an accident.

    It’s the same reason there are so many videos out there of road rage incidents in Russia.

  • RussianMeteor Explosion

    I just
    watched an exclusive video footage here which has not been published anywhere
    else! This was unbelievable. I thought I will never see such mysterious thing
    in my life, ever. Thank you god.

    http://www.russianmeteorexplosion.blogspot.com

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