Meteor Explodes Over Russia With Force Rivaling Nuclear Bomb

Our dangerous solar system
Science • Views: 15,635

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.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis 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: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
happy turkey day!
Kragar
33 minutes ago
Views: 18 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Two More Women Accuse Sen. Al Franken of Inappropriate Touching wo more women have told HuffPost that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) touched their butts in separate incidents. These are the third and fourth such allegations against Franken in the past week. Leeann Tweeden, a radio host, wrote last week ...
Thanos
1 hour ago
Views: 53 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Portugal. the Man - Feel It Still [2017 American Music Awards Performance] portugaltheman.com WOODSTOCK available now!atlantic.lnk.to Go to feelitstill.com for the interactive version of the "Feel it Still" video. There you'll find 30 tools of #theresistance to fight apathy and injustice hidden in the film. Follow Portugal. The ManWebsite: portugaltheman.comFB: facebook.com ...
Thanos
1 day, 6 hours ago
Views: 159 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Donald Trump Doesn’t Believe Women, but He Does Believe Roy Moore. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tiptoed up to the edge of (re)endorsing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has faced a barrage of credible allegations that he romantically pursued teenagers routinely in his hometown of Gadsden while he was ...
Thanos
1 day, 6 hours ago
Views: 138 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Smiths - How Soon Is Now? (Official Music Video) Watch the official music video for "How Soon Is Now"Amazon: po.stiTunes: po.stGoogle: po.stFacebook: po.st "How Soon Is Now?" was originally a B-side of the 1984 single "William, It Was Really Nothing". "How Soon Is Now?" was featured on the ...
Thanos
3 days, 13 hours ago
Views: 346 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
2017 Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation This is fascinating, I recommend full screen How can you see the atmosphere? By tracking what is carried on the wind. Tiny aerosol particles such as smoke, dust, and sea salt are transported across the globe, making visible weather ...
Thanos
3 days, 17 hours ago
Views: 340 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Incredibles 2 Official Teaser Trailer The teaser trailer for "Incredibles 2" is here. Disney/Pixar's "Incredibles 2" opens in theatres in 3D June 15th, 2018. Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is ...
Thanos
4 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 406 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Deadpool’s “Wet on Wet” Teaser After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice ...
Thanos
6 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 698 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Voice of America Reporter Outed as Alt-Right However, using information Fatzick himself posted on Reddit — including his age, girlfriend’s name, former employers, friends, location, educational background, and sports affiliations — this reporter was able to tie the vile posts of UncleSam4200 to the Voice of ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 882 • Comments: 4 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Gary Clark Jr - Come Together (Official Music Video) [From the Justice League Movie Soundtrack] Official Video for "Come Together" by Gary Clark Jr. featured in the Justice League Movie trailer. In theaters November 17th 2017.Directed by Kris Merc Get the song now at garyclarkjr.com Check out the Justice League soundtrack here: lnk.to Follow ...
Thanos
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 794 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0