Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Russian rock

Did you see the footage that so many people captured when a meteor streaked across the Russian sky on February 15th? If not, here's a slideshow and compilation video. The meteor originated in the asteroid belt, was visible in the sky for about 30 seconds, let loose several sonic booms as it entered the atmosphere, and disintegrated over Chelyabinsk, Siberia. Here are a few statistics about it:

  • It was originally 55' (17m) long and had an estimated mass of 10,000 tons.
  • It entered the atmosphere at about 40,000 mph (18km per second).
  • It released nearly 500 kilotons of energy (about 30 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb).
  • it exploded at an altitude of 12 to 15 miles above the surface.
  • Fragments left a 20' wide (6m wide) hole in the ice.

The cosmic event was the largest to have happened within the last century, and the only time a crashing meteor is known to have injured a large number of people, by shattering glass as they went to the windows to see what was happening. "[It] turns out to be the most widely witnessed asteroid strike in modern history."

 

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