Less than a day after I wrote my blog about an asteroid heading toward Earth a meteorite has been reported in Russia. I want to make clear though, my previous blog explaining 2012 DA14 is separate from this. That asteroid is *not* associated with this reported meteorite strike in Russia. They're separate events in which NASA still expects the incoming asteroid to miss Earth.
However in Russia early Friday morning, amazing images and video have surfaced regarding a possible meteorite strike. Watch for yourself with cool videos here:
I love watching these short dashcam clips, especially of how bright the expected meteorite was. Here are early thoughts of what we believe happened, with reports from the AP, CNN, Getty, and UK sources.
Details are continuing to pour out and you'll have to go to our news version to get the very latest.
It is believed an asteroid, fairly small by scientists' measurements of roughly 10 tons in weight, entered the atmosphere and landed in a lake near Cherbarkul, Russia in the Chelyabinsk region. The city of Chelyabinsk is about 900 miles east of Moscow and close to the Kazakhstan border. Chelyabinsk is believed to have taken the brunt of the impact.
As of 10 a.m. Friday there were reportedly hundreds even near 1,000 people treated for injuries, mostly from shattered glass but some injuries more major as well. There were reportedly hundreds of buildings damaged too, which either happened from a sonic boom or explosion above ground as the meteor entered the lower parts of the atmosphere, or from the meteorite breaking apart and reaching the ground in multiple pieces.
Another good article with pictures and videos is here.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2279020/Russian-meteorite-Moment-meteorite-exploded-doctors-treat-500-people-injured.html#ixzz2KytSzlko
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There is another good source for more information on these types of events, you can find that at the American Meteor Society:
That is the link to frequently asked questions regarding fireballs, meteorites, meteors, etc.
According to the AMS this is a typical occurrence, as its web site says there are roughly 10-50 meteorites around the earth each day. However a majority of them land in the ocean and remain unreported, while another good fraction of these events happen over uninhabited land. That leaves an estimate of 2-12 meteorites possibly reported each day by the public. Even further, the AMS believes only a handful of reports come in each year like this one in Russia.
We have a layer of protection over us from our atmosphere. I've seen streaking meteors in the sky leaving a tail of green and blue. Friday's meteorite left a 'smoke trail' as seen in the videos and images. Scientists estimate that meteors make these trails about 48,000-63,000 feet above ground level and then enter "dark flight" which is where the meteorite can't be seen anymore, as it doesn't produce that trail in the lower parts of the atmosphere. It is estimated that the objects travel about 4,500 mph when creating that trail, but slow to 200-400 mph toward the Earth's surface.
There were a lot of reports of a 'boom' or 'bang' as the meteorite approached the surface, which is believed to cause the damage. I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about this particular incident, especially on a coincidental day that this *unrelated* asteroid 2012 DA14 is coming close by to Earth. It goes to show we don't know about a lot of the meteors zipping near or toward Earth. Friday's meteorite would be very hard to find on a telescope because of its small size.
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier