A meteor streaked across the sky above Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and injuring more than 500 people, many of them hurt by broken glass.
“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were OK,” said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.
“We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound,” he told The Associated Press by telephone.
Another Chelyabinsk resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.
Some meteorites—fragments of the meteor—fell in a reservoir outside the town of Cherbakul, the regional governor’s office said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by fragments.
Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling much faster than the speed of sound. Injuries on the scale reported Friday, however, are extraordinarily rare.
The blast caused the roof to cave in on the zinc factory, so there goes the big weekend party. Post-Soviet Pravda says this chunk of space rock is not part of today’s giant chunk of space rock, DA14, is doing it’s own close shave of our planet, passing by at a near-miss distance barely 3/4 as far up as our telecom and GPS satellites in geostationary orbit (22,236 miles). That’s close. Too close.
Russian news reports noted that the meteor hit less than a day before the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid—about 17,150 miles.
One little blip, one minor deviation in it’s flight path, one very small miscalculation of 14’s path ... BLAMMO. And ITEOTWAWKI for us too perhaps. Maybe those Mayans were only off by 50 days or so. Or maybe it’s because of Global Warming.
UPDATE: An atom bomb’s worth of energy. So brilliant locals rush outside to look at the fireball.
A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb Friday, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring nearly 1,000 people.
The spectacle deeply frightened many Russians, with some elderly women declaring that the world was coming to an end. Many of the injured were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows to see what the source was for such an intense flash of light.
The meteor—estimated to be about 10 tons and just 2 meters across—entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered into pieces about 18-32 miles above the ground, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
Amateur video showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time, just after sunrise, leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.
City officials said 3,000 buildings in the city were damaged by the shock wave, including a zinc factory where part of the roof collapsed.
The vast implosion of glass windows exposed many residents to the bitter cold as temperatures in the city hovered around 15.8 Fahrenheit.
The regional governor immediately urged any workers who can pane windows to rush to the area to help out.
Trust me, doing windows is a pane.
The Russian-language hashtags for the meteorite shot into Twitter’s top trends, and the country’s lively blogosphere quickly reacted with black humor.
One of the most popular jokes was that the meteorite was supposed to fall Dec. 21 last year—when many believed the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world—but was delivered late by Russia’s notoriously inefficient postal service.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a nationalist leader noted for vehement statements, blamed the Americans.
“It’s not meteors falling. It’s the test of a new weapon by the Americans,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.
Ha! Trust me, Boris dahlink, if it were one of ours you wouldn’t be standing there making that statement.
Scientists think the “Tunguska Event” over Siberia in 1908 was caused by a 100-foot asteroid. This space rock exploded in midair, leveling trees across 825 square miles in the region.
No need to worry; the Muslim Outreach Specialists at NASA have assured us there is absolutely no way, no how, never ever, nuh uh, that this one will hit us. Closest approach, just over 2 planetary diameters, will be at 2:24pm EST, but on the other side of the planet.
As Msxwell would have said: Missed me by THAT MUCH!
We need spellcheck here, or self editing commenters.