Meteor strike in Russia hurts almost 1,000 (w/ Video)

Feb 15, 2013 by Stuart Williams
Meteor streaks are seen above the desert near the Israeli Kibbutz of Ein Gedi early on December 14, 2012. A meteor shower caused explosions in the lower atmosphere above Russia's Urals region, blowing out windows in some areas and leaving several people injured, officials and agencies reported.

A plunging meteor which exploded with a blinding flash above central Russia , set off a shockwave that shattered windows and hurt almost 1,000 people in an event unprecedented in modern times.

Experts insisted the meteor's fiery entry into the atmosphere on Friday was not linked to the asteroid 2012 DA 14, which later passed about 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometres) above the Earth without incident in an unusually close approach.

But the extraordinary event brought morning traffic to a sudden halt in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk as shocked drivers stopped to watch the falling meteor partially burning up in the lower atmosphere and light up the sky.

The fall of such a large meteor estimated as weighing dozens of tonnes was extremely rare, while the number of casualties as a consequence of its burning up around a heavily-inhabited area was unprecedented.

Chelyabinsk regional governor Mikhail Yurevich, quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency, said 950 people were injured, with two-thirds of the injuries light wounds from glass shards and other materials blown out by the shockwave.

Windows were shattered by the shockwave across the city's region with the ministry saying almost 300 buildings were damaged including schools, hospitals, a zinc factory and even an ice hockey stadium.

"At 9:20 am (0320 GMT), an object was observed above Chelyabinsk which flew by at great speed and left a trail behind. Within two minutes there were two bangs," regional emergencies official Yuri Burenko said in a statement.

The office of the local governor said that a meteorite had fallen into a lake outside the town of Chebarkul in the Chelyabinsk region and television images pointed to a six-metre (20-foot) hole in the frozen lake's ice.

However it has yet to be finally confirmed if meteorite fragments made contact with the Earth and there were no reports that any locals had been hurt directly by a falling piece of meteorite.

Schools were closed for the day and theatre shows cancelled across the region after the shock wave blew out windows amid temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius (zero degrees Fahrenheit).

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"Thank God that nothing fell onto inhabited areas," President Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, ordering him to look into how to warn citizens about such events.

'A large object weighing tonnes'

The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement that it estimated the body to be several metres long and weighing several dozen tonnes. "It burned up at a height of 30-50 kilometres... but pieces could have fallen to Earth as meteorites."

The meteor explosion appears to be one of the most stunning cosmic events above Russia since the 1908 Tunguska Event, when a massive blast most scientists blame on an asteroid or a comet impact ripped through Siberia.

"I am scratching my head to think of anything in recorded history when that number of people have been indirectly injured by an object like this... it's very, very rare to have human casualties," Robert Massey, deputy executive secretary of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), told AFP.

But he stressed that he saw "absolutely no connection" between the Chelyabinsk event and asteroid 2012 DA 14.

Live images from a telescope at the Gingin Observatory in western Australia showed the asteroid looking like a white streak.

The time of closest approach was about 2:25 pm EST (1925 GMT), said the US space agency NASA, which had called the event "the closest-ever predicted approach to Earth for an object this large."

NASA estimates an asteroid such as 2012 DA 14 flies close to Earth every 40 years on average, but only hits our planet once every 1,200 years.

Paul Chodas, a research scientist in the Near Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, called the meteor-asteroid combination an "incredible coincidence."

Chodas said it was "virtually impossible" to spot objects such as the meteor that struck Russia, which he called a "tiny asteroid", ahead of time against a daytime sky.

With the meteor quickly a leading trend on Twitter, locals posted amateur footage on YouTube showing men swearing in surprise and fright, and others grinding their cars to a halt.

"First I thought it was a plane falling, but there was no sound from the engine... after a moment a powerful explosion went off," witness Denis Laskov told state television.

The Chelyabinsk region is Russia's industrial heartland, filled with smoke-chugging factories and other huge facilities that include a nuclear power plant and the massive Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.

A spokesman for Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy state corporation, said that its operations remained unaffected.

The emergencies ministry said radiation levels in the region also did not change and that 20,000 rescue workers had been dispatched to help the injured and locate those requiring help.

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User comments : 38

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verkle
1.7 / 5 (13) Feb 15, 2013
And just several hours before 2012 DA14 is to pass near the earth. I wonder if there is any relation.

VendicarE
2.8 / 5 (14) Feb 15, 2013
It is likely there is a connection between these events and the close flyby of the asteroid, although the physical separation is large.

The video's are quite spectacular, and the smoke trail shown is very interesting - seeming to come from a double object.

Very loud explosions are heard (and felt) more than 20 seconds after the largest explosion putting the altitude of the explosion at over 8 kilometers and probably higher since none of the video's I have seen show both the visual explosion and audio.

In any case, to blow windows out of their frames - and collapse a 6,000 square foot roof - requires an impressive explosive force even if it is only 8 kilometers away.

Very impressive video documentation of the fall can be found on YouTube.

Many thanx to the Russians who provided the video's.
VendicarE
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 15, 2013
A new video has appeared that shows a minimum delay of around 80 seconds between the visual explosion the the arrival of sound on the ground - again the visual explosion is not shown.

So the altitude of the explosion was at least 27 kilometers.

From that altitude it was capable of blowing windows out of window frames and collapsing the roof of at least one building indicating an over-pressure of around 1 psi.

Impressive.

If the meteorite had of exploded at half the altitude, buildings under the explosion would have begun to collapse.

At 1/4 of the altitude the town of Chelyabinsk would have been largely destroyed.

VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2013
Again, from reviewing the video's a rough estimate can be made of the object's speed during it's trail production. It comes out to somewhere over 20,000 km/h, and a guess can be made that it was around 30,000 km/h when it first entered the earth's atmosphere.

Speed estimates are a minimum based on counting and visual inspection of camera images. Real speed could perhaps be 1.5 times higher but not likely 2 times higher.
Joker23
1 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2013
i didn't know that windows have pains.........the phrase is "window pane".....sorry I'm so pickey
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2013
The apparent twin trail is a general effect of the velocities and densities involved and is commonly seen at the discharge of tall exhaust stacks. http://nepis.epa....T07M.txt

Extreme used car salesmen are idiots. What is a "double object"?
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 15, 2013
In any case, to blow windows out of their frames - and collapse a 6,000 square foot roof - requires an impressive explosive force even if it is only 8 kilometers away.

This will hopefuly help increase efforts towards identification and deflection of potentially harmful space objcts.

A couple of tons of mass isn't a lot. But considering what it did we should up our game on that front. The next one might be a bit bigger.
runrig
4.5 / 5 (8) Feb 15, 2013
And just several hours before 2012 DA14 is to pass near the earth. I wonder if there is any relation.


Unlikely it seems. An expert here ( UK ) has said on the media that the near-Earth one is travelling south to north and this one hit the NH, whereas if connected it would have impacted south of the equator.
Trenchant
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2013
Say, for the sake of conversation, that it was a stony meteorite and that "several dozen tons" is 36 tons. I don't know if a stony meteorite weighs about the same as cement, but lets say it roughly does. The meteorite would have had a diameter of about 2.5 meters (8 feet).
yyz
5 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2013
The reports of this meteor sound very similar to descriptions of a massive meteorite fall that occurred in Siberia in 1947: http://en.wikiped...n_meteor

Displaying a fireball as bright as the sun, producing a deafening sound and leaving behind a huge smoke trail that hung in the skies for hours, the Sikhote-Alin event is estimated to have dropped around *70 tons* of meteorites in a remote region of eastern Siberia. Amateur and professional meteorite hunters are sure to be on the lookout for specimens from this current event, as hundreds of specimens have been recovered from the Sihkote-Alin fall: http://www.lpi.us...de=23593
rkolter
5 / 5 (8) Feb 15, 2013
My wife told me there was a meterorite strike in Russia on the phone. I immediately looked up. I'm on the other side of the planet. *facepalm*
Michael_Cain
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2013
Where is this "panic" I keep reading about? In all the videos I've seen everyone seems pretty calm, and though I've seen a dozen headlines saying that the meteor caused panic in Russia not a single article discusses it.
sirchick
not rated yet Feb 15, 2013
Any one have a reasonable guess how large the object would of been ?
Grallen
5 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2013
I hope this improves NASA funding.
sirchick
5 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2013
I hope this improves NASA funding.


I hope so too for ESA they seem to priorities the funding alot more in Europe for ESA than America does for NASA.
ChangBroot
1 / 5 (16) Feb 16, 2013
I hope NOT for more NASA funding. Every time you hear about NASA or some other organization talking about tracking thousands of asteroid/meteorite, while this thing just came without anyone detecting it. Had this collided with the city, it would have been devastating, specially exploding about 100 meters in the air. So how could such a huge object passed our (i.e. humans) radar (all over the world). Anyone who's working in the field of tracking asteroid or meteorite, should be held responsible. This could have easily been avoided, had it been a direct collision.
TransmissionDump
5 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2013
Chang: More funding = more R&D = better detection technology and development of risk mitigation strategies. To conclude that an individual or body of scientists should be held responsible for technological limitation smacks of irrationality.
PhotonX
5 / 5 (9) Feb 16, 2013
@ChangBroot: What are you talking about?

exploding about 100 meters in the air
No, 30-50 kilometers. How do you imagine it exploding at 100m?

Had this collided with the city, it would have been devastating
Which is exactly why we need that research money you don't want to spend.

So how could such a huge object
It *wasn't* huge--that's the point. A rock roughly the size of a cement truck does this much damage from 30km away. Imagine what the 45m 2012 DA14 would have done.

passed our ... radar
No, we don't have space radar. Asteroids are detected optically, and small dark-colored rocks are damned hard to see in space. By the time radar sees it it's already here.

Anyone who's working in the field of tracking...should be held responsible.
Should weathermen be held responsible for tornados?

This could have easily been avoided, had it been a direct collision.
How? How could it have been avoided? Sorry, but this entire post is ludicrous.
VendicarE
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2013
When it was first prposed thta NASA track Near Earth Asteroids, American Republicans laughed and claimed that it was a colossal waste of money.

U.S. constitutionalists insisted that it was against the will of the American Founding Fathers. No where in the U.S. constitution is there any mention of funding for asteroid tracking.

Libertarians and Randites bitterly added their complaint that it was just a fraud and another way for the illegal organization called NASA to steal more of their money.

"I hope this improves NASA funding." - Grallen

The Democrats sided with NASA, and provided some funding.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2013
Yes.

"Unlikely it seems." - runrig

Apparently it was in an orbit completely unrelated to 2012 DA14 and approached the earth from roughly the direction of the sun.

Even if they had been looking for something so small, it would have not been visible in the sun's glare.

There are billions of these sized objects wizzing around in the inner solar system.

VendicarE
4.8 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2013
Not that I have ever seen.

"The apparent twin trail is a general effect of the velocities and densities involved and is commonly seen at the discharge of tall exhaust stacks." - Huffman

I have also never seen a double meteor trail before.

Here is a view of the Russian meteor taken from space.

http://news.bbcim...x350.jpg
VendicarE
5 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2013
Impact location at nearby lake.

http://gdb.rferl...._n_s.jpg

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02482/meteor-ice-hole_2482345k.jpg
Seismic recording

http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/036/803/iFF/meteor_seismogram.jpg?1360950090

Another image from space

http://www.today...._275.jpg

VendicarE
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 16, 2013
Wow. ChangBroot managed to get every one of his facts wrong.

I am constantly fascinated by how such a thing happens.

He probably watches Faux News.

"I hope NOT for more NASA funding." - ChangBroot
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2013
That would be an object composed of two two loosely connected parts.

"What is a "double object"?" - DougieTard

You know... Kinda like your thinking ass and your dung-heap brain. Side by side, but stubbornly independent.
MandoZink
5 / 5 (2) Feb 16, 2013
To clear up the non-relationship between the hit and the miss, here is a nice illustration showing the difference between the approach paths of asteroid 2012 DA 14 and the Russian meteor:
http://scienceblo...hUK.jpeg

I really hope this isn't a double post. I did that once today already.
sirchick
5 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2013
I hope NOT for more NASA funding. Every time you hear about NASA or some other organization talking about tracking thousands of asteroid/meteorite, while this thing just came without anyone detecting it. Had this collided with the city, it would have been devastating, specially exploding about 100 meters in the air. So how could such a huge object passed our (i.e. humans) radar (all over the world). Anyone who's working in the field of tracking asteroid or meteorite, should be held responsible. This could have easily been avoided, had it been a direct collision.


Could your post get any more stupid.... no it could not.

You say not to fund NASA ... the very place that would spend the money on tracking meteorites.... did you have a cup full of stupid today?
VendicarE
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 16, 2013
Conservatives drink a cup full of stupid every morning.

"did you have a cup full of stupid today?" - sirchick
TheKnowItAll
2.2 / 5 (5) Feb 17, 2013
We are and will always be at the mercy of nature, which is why we should make the best of every day we live. Tracking billions of meteors will not save us but only let us know that dooms day is ahead. I think that considering the technology at our disposal we are doing a pretty good job at tracking over 10 000 of them even though there is very little we can do to stop them. On the good side we have better odds of getting a fatal hit by lighting than a meteor. Ps. Fear is only good until it become paranoia.
katesisco
1 / 5 (11) Feb 17, 2013
Perhaps a gas ball lobbed by the sun? Remember those round objects with tails linked to the sun's corona? Photographed by NASA? During this compression event the sun makes 'gas balls' and is it a coincidence that they are confused with meteorites?
As I have speculated before a low energy profile at this time benefits Earth as a high energy profile attracts these gas balls.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.4 / 5 (7) Feb 17, 2013
Hey VD heres an interesting idea for you to steal. What would have happened to the big rock if it had been hit by the little rock? What if the little rock was sent on it's way, before the exact trajectory of the big rock was known, but after it was decided that it was a grave threat?

Lots went on behind the iron curtain that we know little about. Lots of secret launch sites sending stuff off-planet all the time. And it has been appreciated for a few gens now, that impactors pose perhaps the greatest threat to civilization. AND, we have had the tech to locate and intercept space rocks ever since we sent probes toward other planets. AND at least 16 Russian probes sent to mars, including phobos landers, supposedly never got there.

How else could you have diverted that asteroid? Once They knew that it wasn't going to hit, the anti-rock rock was sent into the atmosphere. Why waste a good show?
http://scienceblo...hUK.jpeg
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (11) Feb 17, 2013
Clearly, considering the brightness and power of the event, it would be naive to believe this was caused by air friction alone. As a matter of fact, the visual evidence supports the view put forth by EUT of how a charged bolide entering the Earth's plasma sheath will behave.
http://www.thunde...teor.htm
ValeriaT
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 17, 2013
Atomicat
1.3 / 5 (6) Feb 17, 2013
"Clearly, considering the brightness and power of the event, it would be naive to believe this was caused by air friction alone."

Sorry, people who can't do math aren't allowed to have an opinion.

And now for something completely different.

http://phys.org/n...ure.html

"The explosion was so powerful that it shattered windows nearly 100 kilometres (60 miles) away," said the region's Choya district head Alexander Borisov."

Wow! I am truly impressed. Them ruskies certainly do know how to make a damn powerful launch vehicle. I wonder how much fuel went into that bang.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Feb 17, 2013
The Republican position on Asteroid Deflection...

"Due to the Democrats' wasteful spending, our deficit has already risen to unprecedented levels. We can't keep borrowing money like this; it would be irresponsible. The American people are tired of it! If this asteroid deflection plan passes, our children and grandchildren will remember this moment as when their futures were forfeited. What what we really need to be doing is cutting spending and easing the tax burden on our corporations so they can keep on creating jobs like they've been doing these last few decades."

"Look no meteor NASA. Just a bunch of stars like there always are. How convenient that the asteroid is only visible in the southern hemisphere now. How gullible do the Democrats think we are?" - Faux News Glenn Beck

"According to NASA, part of Kenya is supposed to be in the direct path of the asteroid. A coincidence? I think not. This is just more of Barack Hussein Obama's betrayal of America." - Republican Rush Limba
Humpty
1.8 / 5 (8) Feb 18, 2013
I have been writing this comment for decades:

What is wrong with the morons?

NOW is the time to have the nukes converted for deep space, long range missions, and to get the technology and the kill / deflection into the sun rates right up into the 100% mark.

It's no use sitting on our collective arses until one day when the "Telescope Tommies" say, "Ohhhhhhhh Nooooooooo - this is going to hit annnnnnnd it's a REAL big one. How long till it hits? Mmmmmmm about 5 days."

Of course while we have had tens of thousands of nukes sitting in the silos for 50 years, doing nothing more than making profits for the banks and the military industrial complex.....

Meanwhile thousands and thousands of these "sucker punch" asteroids go coasting by silently through the darkness of space - ever so close.... ever so temptingly close.

Just waiting to wipe us all out....

Unless we wipe them out first.
VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2013
And yet that is exactly what it was.

"it would be naive to believe this was caused by air friction alone. " - Cantdrive

You should get your car out on the highway and up to a speed of 30,000 kilometers per hour.

Stick your hand out of the window and see how long it takes to burn away due to the friction.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
Are you asking why Republicans laughed and cut the budget for NEO asteroid observation and tracking?

It is for the same reason they laughed and cut the budget for airport security just before 911.

The same reason they laughed and cut the budget for levee maintenance around NewOrleans in the years before Katrina hit.

It is the same reason they are cutting the EPA budget.

The same reason they cut the NOAA budget

The same reason they cut the NASA budget.

The same reason they cut the NIH budget.

The need more money to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.

"What is wrong with the morons?" - Humpty
VendicarE
4 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
You shouldn't be surprised. The weight and speed of a space craft is similar to that of a meteorite, within an order of magnitude.

"Wow! I am truly impressed. Them ruskies certainly do know how to make a damn powerful launch vehicle." - atomiccat

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