Friday morning people had their eyes on a large astral body designated 2012 DA14 which was heading for a near Earth trajectory. Although passing a mere 18,000 kilometers from our planet, the 150ft. meteorite was not expected to pose any significant threat. And, in fact, it didn’t.
What no one predicted was a much smaller, unrelated meteor (Bolide, or Fireball, more accurately), estimated at 45 feet in diameter with a mass of 40 tons, would enter Earth’s atmosphere and break apart in a massive explosion only 30km above the Chelyabinsk region in Russia with a force estimated at three-hundred kilotons.
The Russian Interior Ministry states there have been over one-thousand injuries, most not serious and only 50 people remain hospitalized. Not a single related fatality has been reported. 3,000 buildings have sustained damage, mostly from having their windows blown out during the shockwave. Damage is estimated at 1 billion Russian Rubles, or $33 million USD. Governor Mikhail Yurevich states, “That’s not much for such an accident.” It is estimated that 30% of the damaged windows have already been replaced.
Our first video is a compilation of footage Russia Today collected from various dashboard cameras that captured footage of the event.
Our next couple of videos show the event from a lot closer. Take that as a volume warning.
Russian authorities suspect there to be at least three large pieces of space rock to have survived impact. The following video is from one confirmed impact site in the frozen Lake Chebarkul,
For a full timeline of these events and the latest breaking news, I would recommend following the story on Russia Today.
While certainly one for the record books, Friday’s meteor impact was certainly not the only one of its ilk. You’d be hard pressed not to be immediately reminded of another famous meteorite impact in Russia: That favorite of scientists and conspiracy theorists alike, the Tunguska Event.
Finally, for getting some of our terminology straight in dealing with astral bodies of this nature we turn to NASA’s SciFiles to help us know our Fireballs from a hole in the ground.