Friday, February 15, 2013

Near Earth Object Alert: Meteor explodes over central Russia, 1000+ people hurt | Reuters/AP - Video

Meteor explodes over Russia’s Ural Mountains; 1,000 injured as shock wave blows in windows

Video: Amateur videos show a meteorite falling from the sky in the Ural Mountains in Russia.



MOSCOW — A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb Friday, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring nearly 1,000 people.
The spectacle deeply frightened many Russians, with some elderly women declaring that the world was coming to an end. Many of the injured were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows to see what the reason was for such an intense flash of light.
The meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons — entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered into pieces about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above the ground, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt | Reuters

Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

The trail of a falling object is seen above a residential apartment block in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, in this still image taken from video shot on February 15, 2013. REUTERS-OOO Spetszakaz
The trail of a falling object is seen above a residential apartment block in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, in this still image taken from video shot on February 15, 2013.
REUTERS/OOO Spetszakaz



Meteorite hits Russia

Stunning images as a meteorite explodes over Russia.  Slideshow 
The trail of a falling object is seen above a residential apartment block in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, in this still image taken from video shot on February 15, 2013. REUTERS-OOO Spetszakaz
The trail of a falling object is seen above the Urals city of Chelyabinsk February 15, 2013, in this picture provided by www.chelyabinsk.ru. REUTERS-www.chelyabinsk.ru-Handout

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/15/us-russia-meteorite-idUSBRE91E05Z20130215
CHELYABINSK, Russia | Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:44am EST

(Reuters) - A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, sending fireballs crashing to earth which shattered windows and damaged buildings, injuring more than 500 people.
People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave, according to a Reuters correspondent in the industrial city 950 miles east of Moscow.
The fireball, travelling at a speed of 19 miles per second according to Russia's space agency Roscosmos, had blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail in its wake which could be seen as far as 125 miles away.
Car alarms went off, windows broke and mobile phone networks were interrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteor explosion had caused a sonic boom.

"I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it was day," said Viktor Prokofiev, 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals Mountains.
"I felt like I was blinded by headlights," he said.

No fatalities were reported, but President Vladimir Putin, who was due to host Finance Ministry officials from the Group of 20 nations in Moscow, told Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov to help those affected.

"Unfortunately, the normal work of some industrial enterprises was disrupted, people have suffered as has social infrastructure - kindergartens, schools," Putin told his Emergencies Minister Sergei Puchkov in televised comments.

"First of all, it is necessary to think about how to help the people, and not only to think about it, but to do it immediately," Putin said.

A local ministry official said such incidents were extremely rare and Friday's events might have been linked to an asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool due to pass earth. However, the European Space Agency on its Twitter website said its experts had confirmed there was no connection.
"There have never been any cases of meteorites breaking up at such a low level over Russia before," said Yuri Burenko, head of the Chelyabinsk branch of the Emergencies Ministry.
Russia's Emergencies Ministry said 514 people had sought medical help, mainly for light injuries caused by flying glass, and that 112 of them were kept in hospital.
Despite warnings not to approach any unidentified objects, some enterprising locals were hoping to cash in.
"Selling meteorite that fell on Chelyabinsk!," one prospective seller, Vladimir, said on a popular Russian auction website. He attached a picture of a black piece of stone that on Friday afternoon was priced at $49.46.

WINDOWS BREAK, FRAMES BUCKLE

The blast at around 9.20 a.m. (12:20 a.m. ET) shattered windows on Chelyabinsk's central Lenin Street and some of the frames of shop fronts buckled. The shockwave could be felt in apartment buildings in the city's center.

"I was standing at a bus stop, seeing off my girlfriend," said Andrei, a local resident who did not give his second name. "Then there was a flash and I saw a trail of smoke across the sky and felt a shockwave that smashed windows."

Chelyabinsk city authorities urged people to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up their children from schools and kindergartens. They said what sounded like a blast had been heard at an altitude of 32,800 feet.
A wall was damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but a spokeswoman said there was no environmental threat.
Although a rare occurrence, a meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 1,250 miles in Siberia in 1908, smashing windows as far as 125 miles from the point of impact.
The Emergencies Ministry described Friday's events as a "meteor shower in the form of fireballs" and said background radiation levels were normal. It urged residents not to panic.
Simon Goodwin, an astrophysics expert from Britain's University of Sheffield, said it was estimated between 1,000 and 10,000 tonnes of material rained down from space onto the earth every day, but most burned up in the atmosphere.

"While events this big are rare, an impact that could cause damage and death could happen every century or so," he said. "Unfortunately there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop impacts."
The meteor struck just as an asteroid known as 2012 DA14, about 46 meters in diameter was due to pass closer to earth than any other known object of its size since scientists began routinely monitoring them about 15 years ago.

The small asteroid was expected to pass at a distance of 17,100 miles from earth on Friday.


(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska in Moscow, Writing by Alexei Anishchuk and Timothy Heritage, Editing by Michael Holde

Near Earth Asteroids

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On February 3, 2013 there were 1376 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 CY
Jan 28
0.9 LD
10 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
2013 BA74
Feb 6
4.5 LD
42 m
2013 BS45
Feb 12
4.9 LD
30 m
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
2013 BV15
Feb 13
3.7 LD
61 m
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
58 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.

 

Dec 12, 2012
Asteroid passes inside moon's orbit, buzzes Earth - Secret spaceplane blasts off for mystery mission - Madtown Preppers - http://madtownpreppers.blogspot.com/2012/12/asteroid-passes-inside-moons-orbit.html. Posted at ...
Feb 03, 2013
COMET LEMMON UPDATE: Glowing much brighter than expected, Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) is gliding through the skies of the southern hemisphere about 92 million miles (0.99 AU) from Earth. Amateur astronomer Rolf ...
Jan 11, 2013
"It was important to get these observations of AG5 in the autumn of 2012, because if it had turned out that AG5 was actually on an impact trajectory, it would have given us an additional year to mount a deflection mission and succeed in deflecting it from the 2023 keyhole. Without ... Asteroid 2012 DA14 won't hit Earth next month · Asteroid 2011 AG5 won't hit Earth in 2040 · This year's big comets won't pose a threat · Asteroid-hunting telescope to be launched in 2017 ...

 
 
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