TwitterFacebook

Meteor Explodes Over Russia With Force Rivaling Nuclear Bomb

Our dangerous solar system
Science • Views: 13,556

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!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
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: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
The War TARDIS
Preview to Doctor Who, Series 8 Finale -SPOILERS-
It appears Clara may have gone bad, if the latest trailer is anything to go by: Lines and Pictures to go with them: Clara: Do I have your attention? You will never step inside your TARDIS again Ok... Clara seems ...

1 hour, 2 minutes ago
Views: 58 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Randall Gross
AT&T Locks Multi-Carrier iPad SIM, T-Mobile and Sprint Leave It Open
Apple public relations pointed Ars to a support FAQ that confirms the AT&T locking. "Using Apple SIM, you can choose from different cellular carriers and their various programs. The data plans vary by carrier. For instance, in the United ...

6 hours, 5 minutes ago
Views: 84 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
FemNaziBitch
Jasmine Villegas’s -MUSIC Video makes a difference in Domestic Violence —MIC
Like so many others, the teen initially kept the abuse to herself, concealing the violence from friends and family until she couldn't hide the bruises and swollen lips any longer. The final straw came when her abusive ex threw ...

9 hours, 17 minutes ago
Views: 98 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 0
Lumberhead
The Wars Rand Paul Would Fight - the Atlantic
Paul should be credited for broadening the GOP foreign-policy debate. And there's considerable merit in his preference for thinking carefully through the endgame of war, building congressional support before seizing the sword, and recognizing the potential for blowback from ...

13 hours, 51 minutes ago
Views: 205 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
MichaelJ
Jordy Smith + Impossibly Long Sand Bottom Tubes
More: Jordy Smith + Impossibly Long Sand Bottom Tubes 47701

23 hours, 44 minutes ago
Views: 131 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
EiMitch
Cracked: 6 Halloween Pranks for Sociopaths With Unlimited Budgets
cracked.com America's No. 1 holiday celebrating violence and candy is just around the corner, and this year it looks to be better than ever, as the glorious union of art and technology has given us several exciting new ways to ...

3 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 446 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Souliren
Natalie MacMaster Fiddle school
This is a short (under two minute) video of Natalie teaching a technique for "Athole Brose," in Cape Breton style.

6 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 403 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Rightwingconspirator
1934 Had Worst Drought of Last Thousand Years-We Made It Worse
"It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of variability that we see in the record," said climate scientist Ben Cook at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Cook ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 721 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 5
Skip Intro
The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction
arstechnica.com

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 815 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
 Frank says:

Anything can be music -- Answer to critics accusing him of not doing actual music on Uncle Meat