This morning at around 9:20 a.m. a supersonic boom was heard in Russia as a 10-ton meteor only 49-feet or 15-meters in diameter entered the earth's atmosphere at 33,000 miles per-hour. “The shock wave blew in more than 1 million square feet of glass, according to city officials, who said 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk, approximately 900 miles east of Moscow were damaged. At one zinc factory, part of the roof collapsed,” according to Fox News.
Nearly 50 people were hospitalized out of the 1,100 people injured. Many of them were injured when they ran to their windows to see what the incredibly loud noise was. “'It doesn’t take a very large object. A 10-meter size object already packs the same energy as a nuclear bomb,' Cheng, who led a 2000-2001 mission for NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid, told FoxNews.com.”(F.N.) This meteor released several kilotons of energy above the region.
There is a 130,000 ton asteroid called Asteroid 2012 DA14 which made the closest recorded pass of an asteroid to the earth today, passing about 17,150 miles away from the earth. That is closer than satellites. Today's meteor was about one third the size of the asteroid that passed by us.
The two are said not to be related to each other, and scientists did not predict this Asteroid 2012 DA14 would hit the earth. By these calculations the devastation would have been huge.
Today's meteor left a contrail that split at one point, making an incredible display in the sky, and was captured on film and in pictures. Car alarms went off as a result of the boom. The impact of this meteor is being described in terms of a “shock wave” that caused glass to “bounce back” or fall onto people, and even factory workers witnessed massive doors being blown away by the energy released as huge slabs of glass slammed to the floor. Some spoke of a hush after the flash of light.
It literally seemed like the end of the world to some elderly women in one village. “Another resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.” (F.N.)
The Wall Street Journal reported, “'That kind of light doesn't happen in life, only at the end of the world,' Vlada Palagina, a Chelyabinsk schoolteacher, told the LifeNews website.”
Some thought an airplane had crashed. Schools sent the children home as reports say they were visibly shaken with many children streaming out of their classrooms screaming.
Many amateur videos were in the making as this huge ball of fire streaked across the sky. The technology of the twenty first century has proved beneficial to scientists and officials in gathering all of the facts amongst fearful speculations.
"'There's no major destruction,'" Chelyabinsk regional Governor Mikhail Yuyevich wrote on his blog. 'The main task now is to maintain heat in the apartments and offices where the glass was smashed.'" (WSJ) The temperature is supposed to drop to minus four degrees Fahrenheit tonight.
This size and severity of damage and number of injuries is said to be very rare. Scientists are saying they have never seen a meteor do the kind of damage this one did. Usually, only one or two people get hurt, if anyone. It's been referred to as “unprecedented” by Keith Smith, an astronomer at Britain's Royal Astronomical Society.
This meteor broke up at a height of 30-50 kilometers above the earth. “According to the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration, meteoroids smaller than 25 meters (82 feet) usually burn up as they streak through the atmosphere, causing little or no damage.” (WSJ)
Only one out of 100 meteors that enter our atmosphere each year is the size of a car. This leaves today's meteor in a category of “the unusual” and is a piece of history that residents of Chelyabinsk, Russia and the world will never forget.
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