Russian Meteor 15/02/13
News reports have recently come in of a huge meteor exploding in the air over the Russian cities of Yekatarinburg and Chelyabinsk (about 200km apart), injuring hundreds of people. It’s worth clarifying some of the facts in this matter:
The object that exploded was a meteor, a lump of space rock passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. In this particular case the meteor appears to have exploded around 10km above the ground, over the city of Chelyabinsk.
The shockwave from the explosion damaged some buildings, shattered windows, and set off car alarms. It appears that most of the injuries came from the broken glass, not from the meteor itself hitting anyone.
Showers of fragments from the meteor have been reported too, falling after the explosion over a large area of Russia.
The meteor poses no risk to us any more; it’s all burned up, and it was a one-off random event. Such things are not that rare, happening once every few years, but this one just happened to fall over a populated area.
This meteor was unrelated to asteroid 2012 DA14 that is due to pass by the Earth later today.
UPDATE: A 6m diameter crater has been found in the ice & snow of Lake Chebarkul where the meteorite is thought to have landed: