Sunday, February 17, 2013



Meteor Slams into Russia Shower or UFO over Russia Video of meteorite shower


Moscow (CNN) -- A meteor streaked through the skies above Russia's Urals region Friday morning before exploding with a flash and boom that shattered glass in buildings and left about 1,000 people hurt, authorities said.

Described by NASA as a "tiny asteroid," the meteor's explosion created a blast in central Russia equivalent to 300,000 tons of TNT, the space agency's officials said Friday, adding that the incident was a once-in-100-years event.

The injured included more than 200 children. Most of those hurt are in the Chelyabinsk region, though the vast majority of injuries are not thought to be serious.



About 3,000 buildings were damaged -- mostly with broken glass -- as a result of the shock waves caused by the blast, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.



Vladimir Stepanov, of the National Center for Emergency Situations at the Russian Interior Ministry, earlier told state media that hospitals, kindergartens and schools were among those affected.

About 20,000 emergency response workers were mobilized, RIA Novosti reported.

Amateur video footage showed a bright white streak moving rapidly across the sky, before exploding with an even brighter flash and a deafening bang.


The explosion occurred about 9:20 a.m. local time, as many people were out and about.

It was captured in vivid images by Russians, many of whom used dash cameras inside their vehicles.

Dash cameras are popular in Russia for several reasons including possible disputes over traffic accidents and the corrupt reputations of police in many areas. Drivers install the cameras for their own protection and to document incidents they could be caught in; on Friday, they were able to document a spectacular natural phenomenon.

CNN iReporter and Instagram user Max Chuykov saw the meteor trail from the city of Yekaterinburg. He shared on Instagram that it was "close to the ground."

Witness Ekaterina Shlygina posted to CNN iReport and wrote on Instagram: "Upon Chelyabinsk a huge fireball has exploded. It wasn't an aircraft."

The national space agency, Roscosmos, said scientists believed one meteoroid had entered the atmosphere, where it burned and disintegrated into fragments.

The resulting meteorites are believed to be scattered across three regions of Russia, one of them Chelyabinsk, as well as neighboring Kazakhstan, the news agency said.

One large chunk was discovered in a lake in the Chelyabinsk region, RIA Novosti cited the Chelyabinsk governor as saying.

A spokesman for the Emergency Ministry for the Chelyabinsk region told CNN earlier Friday that 524 people there were injured and 34 hospitalized.

NASA estimates 4,700 'potentially hazardous' asteroids

For sky watchers, the reports bring to mind the famous Tunguska event of 1908 in remote Siberia, in which an asteroid entered the atmosphere and exploded, leveling trees over an area of 820 square miles -- about two-thirds the size of Rhode Island.

About 80 million trees were felled, radiating out from the center of the blast, but no crater was left.

Friday's Chelyabinsk meteor came on the same day that a hefty asteroid charged past Earth.

An asteroid makes a close call. Fear not, scientists say

Known as 2012 DA14, the asteroid is thought to be 45 meters long, about half the length of a football field. But scientists say it came not much closer than 17,100 miles from our planet's surface.

Officials from around the world were quick to call for greater vigilance in monitoring meteors.

"Today's event is a strong reminder of why we need continuous efforts to survey and identify near-Earth objects," said Thomas Reiter, European Space Agency's Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.

Deep Space Industries, a recently created space exploration company, said countries should be proactive in establishing "a sentry line of spacecraft circling the Earth to intercept and evaluate incoming threats."

"The hundreds of people injured in northern Russia show it's time to take action and no longer be passive about these threats," said Rick Tumlinson, chairman of Deep Space Industries.

NASA spokesman Steve Cole told CNN that scientists had determined that the Russian meteor was on a very different trajectory from the larger asteroid.

"They are completely unrelated objects -- it's a strange coincidence they are happening at the same time," said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Asteroid and meteor: Connected?

"This kind of object does fall fairly frequently, but when they fall into the ocean or desert, there is no impact on people -- so this one is unusual in the sense that it's come over a populated area," Yeomans said.

Cole said he wasn't aware whether scientists had foreseen the meteor's entry into the atmosphere.

Because meteoroids are small, they are hard to spot and there is often little warning that they are heading toward Earth, he said.

By Phil Black, Boriana Milanova and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Many thanks to these 2 writers for the best article I have yet to read.

Please make sure to click the source link below so you can watch all the videos and read further interesting articles.



Spaceship Earth took two celestial shots across its bow as, first, a meteor struck Russia, showering the Chelyabinsk region with fragments and reportedly injuring several hundred people, and second, as Asteroid 2012 DA14 whizzed past on 15 February. Traditionally, a torpedo across the bow is fired as a warning to change one's behavior – and this coincidence of events should be a warning to humanity that meteors are not always as benign as "shooting stars" and that the next asteroid might not miss! Will we, the crew of SS Earth heed this warning?

We can look at asteroid 2012 DA14 (or DA14 for short), which missed the Earth by a mere 17,000 miles, in two ways. DA14 is one of about 10,000 near-Earth asteroids that have been discovered in the past 15 years that pass close to our planet, threatening an impact. However, since we have seen these asteroids and are currently tracking them, we can predict any upcoming impacts. Happily, none of those we've found to date pose any substantial threat of impact.

Nevertheless, the Earth is hit by one of these relatively small DA14-sized asteroids about once every 300 years, on average. And "small" is far, far from insignificant. The DA14-like asteroid that hit Earth in 1908 did so in a remote region of Siberia, where the explosion (the equivalent of about 250 Hiroshima nuclear bombs going off at one time) destroyed over 800 square miles of the countryside. This disaster zone, superimposed on any city in the world, would have wiped it and all its residents from the face of the Earth. I refer you, as a graphic reminder of the power of such explosions, to the post-facto Hiroshima bomb pictures readily found online.

The second way to view DA14 is to realize that, until just about a year ago, it was one of about 1 million similarly sized, near-Earth asteroids, which we know are out there, statistically, but that we haven't yet seen. Consequently, until we find them in our telescopes, we are like sitting ducks in a shooting gallery with nothing more than luck to prevent a disaster. Regrettably, the Earth-based telescopes we've been using to discover and track these objects have, practically speaking, reached their limitations for finding the vast majority of these cosmic torpedoes.

Why do we care about finding them if there's nothing we can do about it?

Because, unknown to most people, is that if we have adequate early warning, our current space technology is sufficiently advanced to deflect these asteroids. For smaller impacts, even a last-minute warning of several days could enable a local evacuation and save many lives.

Deflection, however, will generally require several decades of warning. Fortunately, due to the relatively pure nature of space dynamics, forecasting an asteroid impact 100 years in advance is possible once its orbit is well known.

Over the past 15 years, NASA has, thankfully, discovered over 95% of the largest asteroids that cross the Earth's orbit and that would have planet-wide consequences on impact. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of the telescopes, we have discovered less than 1% of their smaller DA14-like cousins "only" capable of wiping out a metropolitan area; 99% of the job remains to be done.

Another Tunguska event?

The incident in Chelyabinsk bears a strong resemblance to the 1908 Tunguska event – an exceptionally powerful explosion in Siberia believed to have been caused by a fragment of a comet or meteor.

According to estimates, the energy of the Tunguska blast may have been as high as 50 megatons of TNT, equal to a nuclear explosion. Some 80 million trees were leveled over a 2,000-square-kilometer area. The Tunguska blast remains one of the most mysterious events in history, prompting a wide array of hypotheses on its cause, including a black hole passing through Earth and the wreck of an alien spacecraft.

It is believed that if the Tunguska event had happened 4 hours later, due to the rotation of the Earth it would have completely destroyed the city of Vyborg and significantly damaged St. Petersburg.  

When a similar, though less powerful, unexplained explosion happened in Brazil in 1930, it was named the ‘Brazilian Tunguska.’ The Tunguska event also prompted debate and research into preventing or mitigating asteroid impacts.

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