15
Feb
2013

Large Daytime Fireball Hits Russia

There are numerous reports and videos about a large fireball that made landfall in Russia on February 15th, 2013. Information and videos are still being collected: We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

For basic information about fireball meteors please see the fireball FAQ.

Lastest News

From NASA Community Facebook Page

New information provided by a worldwide network of sensors has allowed scientists to refine their estimates for the size of the object that entered that atmosphere and disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, at 7:20:26 p.m. PST, or 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 (3:20:26 UTC on Feb. 15).
The estimated size of the object, prior to entering Earth’s atmosphere, has been revised upward from 49 feet (15 meters) to 55 feet (17 meters), and its estimated mass has increased from 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Also, the estimate for energy released during the event has increased by 30 kilotons to nearly 500 kilotons of energy released. These new estimates were generated using new data that had been collected by five additional infrasound stations located around the world – the first recording the event being in Alaska, over 6,500 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk. The infrasound data indicates that the event, from atmospheric entry to the meteor’s airborne disintegration took 32.5 seconds. The calculations using the infrasound data were performed by Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
“We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years on average,” said Paul Chodas of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones.”
The trajectory of the Russia meteor was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, which hours later made its flyby of Earth, making it a completely unrelated object. The Russia meteor is the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia.

A hole in Chebarkul Lake made by meteorite debris. Photo by Chebarkul town head Andrey Orlov.

The fireball that hit Russia’s Urals is the largest rock to strike the planet since 1908, Nature Magazine says. The blast was even more powerful than North Korea’s recent nuclear test, added the UK journal.

The Russian Academy of Science now estimates the meteorite had a mass of around 10 tons before it entered Earth’s atmosphere, and began disintegrating at an altitude of between 30 and 50 kilometers.

Here are some comments made about this event on the meteor obs mailing list.

From Marco Langbroek of the Dutch Meteor Society

With a geocentric radiant at declination -81 degrees for the 2012 DA14 orbit, it is impossible for fragments from an associated “stream” to impact at a latitude as high as 55 North. As seen from the viewpoint of approaching 2012 DA14 fragments, 55 N is the “backside” of the Earth.

From Jeremie Vaubaillon of the IMCCE

Having a look at these videos, taken from Sverdlovsk and Kamensk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e686-i7woR4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCawTYPtehk&feature=player_embedded
the bolide was heading very roughly North-East towards South-West.

From Esko Lyytinen

Using mainly the video and the weather satellite image, with no real good calibrations, I get a
rough solar system orbit ( the last stage by means of Marco Langbroek Excel sheet).

( Entry with velocity 17 km/s ( 17.3) from about az. 97 with the slope of 18 deg. Corresponding (luminous) start heigth (assumed, quite heigh for the velocity, but considers very big size) 100 km and the end 7+ km.)

  • a=1.66
  • e=0.52
  • q=0.80 AU
  • aphelion at 2.53 AU
  • node=326.43 ( J2000.0 )
  • arg peri=116.0
  • i=4.05
  • 43.6 days after perihelion

The geocentric radiant is 338, +2 This is only of very general quality and given with (a lot) too many decimals.

The orbit does not much resemble the 2009 Feb, 16 innish fireball that I told of yesterday.

According to that solution, the landing site would be not much more than 30 km away from that video recording site. But I do not know the coordinates of this, except very roughly. There quite probably are a lot of small fragments fallen down much earlier along the track, (with possibly a number of bigger ones, besides the main piece).

Other sources:

From Russian Today:

Comparison between the Chelyabinsk meteorite to the century-old Tunguska event, a huge explosion allegedly caused by a fragment of a comet or meteor.

From NASA

“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.”
more here

Videos

Here are links to several videos posted by Skywise on meteor obs

720 – 4:45 – hand held – shows trail, then sonic boom with multiple secondaries

720 – 1:46 – hand held – showing trail, sonic boom & secondaries excellent detail of ‘smoke’ rising in portions of trail

240 – 0:18 – hand held – trail, sonic boom & secondaries

720 – 0:54 – in car – no audio – shows entire entry

1080 – 1:34 – hand held vertical – trail, sonic boom & secondaries

720 – 1:05 – security cam – no audio – shows shadow progression

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dsrd0ZJ-_4

480 – 1:03 – shows trail, closer, multiple sonic booms & secondaries

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKld9ftxBvQ

360 – 2:12 – trail, sonic boom, secondaries, damage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq9opTXtihw

Google Map of the Event

About Mike Hankey

Mike Hankey is a software developer, entrepreneur, amateur astronomer, astrophotographer, meteor observer and meteorite hunter. Mike's enthusiasm for meteors led him to the American Meteor Society where he volunteered his time and the services of his software development company to redesign the AMS website and fireball reporting tool. In 2011 Mike was awarded the society's C.P. Olivier award for his work. In 2012 Mike was promoted to the role of Operations Manager. Mike and his company continue to maintain and enhance the AMS website and fireball reporting tools. You can see Mike's photography work and read more of his posts on his astronomy blog: MikesAstroPhotos.com
5 Responses
  1. Dan Robinson says: February 15, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Wow! I hope some meteorites can be recovered for the scientific community. I’m curious. I also hope that Chelyabinsk is ready for the meteorite hunters and their meteorite money! Good luck to them.


  2. I saw this from eastern Washington when I went out to pick up the trash can at 9:00 pm. Very cool!


  3. I Mrs D Blake have seen here in NZ about our NZ 4:14pm a short glims of may of been a piece of meter rock came out of the blue heading from north west heading north east then dispeared with in 20/ 30 seconds it had a little thick white smoke trail at first but it was ver high up in the clear blue our summer sky. I know there was was to a meter to be seen our end of the world at 8:00 am at top of North Iland but couldn’t see it. ther is to be a comet soon next month Parrs Starss I think last seen in 1680. we are to see down here, Thanks


  4. Great amazing coolest ever neat to see this in our life time what next,


  5. Reminds me of the shuttle launch with solid boosters. The meteorite was tumbling and breaking apart due to friction of atmosphere. The delay in the sound was just due to the altitude. It took quite a while, about 40 secs for the shock wave to reach the ground. Very cool!


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