TwitterFacebook

Meteor Explodes Over Russia With Force Rivaling Nuclear Bomb

Our dangerous solar system
Science • Views: 13,835

After cruising through space for who knows how many millennia, a chunk of rock about 15 meters across plunged into Earth’s atmosphere above the Russian region of Chelyabinsk today and exploded with a force rivaling a nuclear blast, injuring at least 700 people with its shockwave: Russian Meteor Largest in a Century.

A meteor that exploded over Russia this morning was the largest recorded object to strike the Earth in more than a century, scientists say. Infrasound data collected by a network designed to watch for nuclear weapons testing suggests that today’s blast released hundreds of kilotonnes of energy. That would make it far more powerful than the nuclear weapon tested by North Korea just days ago and the largest rock crashing on the planet since a meteor broke up over Siberia’s Tunguska river in 1908.

“It was a very, very powerful event,” says Margaret Campbell-Brown, an astronomer at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, who has studied data from two infrasound stations near the impact site. Her calculations show that the meteoroid was approximately 15 metres across when it entered the atmosphere, and put its mass at around 40 tonnes. “That would make it the biggest object recorded to hit the Earth since Tunguska,” she says.

The meteor appeared at around 09:25 a.m. local time over the region of Chelyabinsk, near the southern Ural Mountains. The fireball blinded drivers and a subsequent explosion blew out windows and damaged hundreds of buildings. So far, more than 700 people are reported to have been injured, mainly from broken glass, according to a statement from the Russian Emergency Ministry.

The unsettling part of the story is that nobody saw it coming — and we probably won’t see the next one either.

Despite its massive size, the object went undetected until it hit the atmosphere. “I’m not aware of anyone who saw this coming,” says Heiner Klinkrad, head of the European Space Agency’s space debris office at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Although a network of telescopes watches for asteroids that might strike Earth, it is geared towards spotting larger objects — between 100 metres and a kilometre in size.

“Objects like that are nearly impossible to see until a day or two before impact,” says Timothy Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which tracks asteroids and small bodies. So far as he knows, he says, his centre also failed to spot the approaching rock.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
Take advantage of our yearly subscription, and save 50% off the normal subscription price! One-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95. Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing now and save!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2015-02-13 1:58 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Thanos
IS ‘Erasing History’ in Nimrud, Iraq
Archaeologists and cultural officials have expressed heartbreak and outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq. Islamic State militants began demolishing the site on Thursday, Iraqi officials said. The UN cultural body's Iraq director, ...

8 hours, 45 minutes ago
Views: 119 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Doofus
Troller gets Trolled
Curt Schilling showed a young punk you don't mess with his daughter on twitter. Schilling's fond paternal congratulations were met with "tweets with the word rape, bloody underwear and pretty much every other vulgar and defiling word you could likely ...

3 days, 22 hours ago
Views: 598 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Lumberhead
Pittsburgh’s Police Chief—the #EndWhiteSilence Twitpic Cop—Isn’t What He’s Cracked Up to Be
In this era of raw nerves, protests and increased tensions, Americans really want leadership. It's natural for the public and the media to desperately seek out examples that appear to affirm that our nation is changing for the better. ...

3 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 515 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 1
FemNaziBitch
The ‘War on Women’ Is the Latest War That Republicans at CPAC Want to Win
By this process, you can arrive at a conclusion like this: To win the War on Women, you better put a ring on it. At CPAC, conservatives dedicated an entire panel to "The Future of Marriage." One could be ...

4 days, 12 hours ago
Views: 522 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 4
ಠ_ಠ
Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras doing a Reddit AMA
Earlier today interested Redditors posed questions to Poitras and Greenwald in Los Angeles, while Snowden posted from Moscow. A rare opportunity for average people to directly communicate with the (in)famous leaker.See the entire discussion HERE Redditor masondog13 asks: What's the ...

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 850 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Rocky-in-Connecticut
Muslims Join Hands At Oslo’s Largest Synagogue
Wait a minute... watching Fox News and the Republican talking heads I learned that all Muslims are bad bad bad and in no way can Islam be interpreted as any sort of peaceful religion. news.yahoo.com OSLO (Reuters) - More than ...

1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 1,056 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 8 • Rating: 5
BadExampleMan
Help Tel Aviv Roller Derby move forward!
For the last three years it's been my privilege to help coach a dedicated group of young women who have founded the first Women's Flat-Track Roller Derby league in Israel. They've learned, trained, fought, and worked unbelievably hard to bring ...

2 weeks ago
Views: 851 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
 Frank says:

Kill ugly radio.