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Meteor Blazes Over Russia!

February 15th, 2013

Russian meteor, Feb. 15, 2103. Photo handout Nasha Gazeta

by Jason Kendall, HTE Space Writer and NYC NASA Solar System Ambassador

A huge meteor about the size of two buses, and weighing approximately 50 tons, burned up over Chelyabinsk, Russia this morning.

It was caught on video … and it’s incredible to watch! There was a huge fireball!

It traveled faster than the speed of sound, creating sonic booms. The meteor broke up into pieces, and those smaller pieces most likely hit the ground.

About a thousand people (!) reportedly got hurt from the effects of it — it blasted out windows, doors, and parts of buildings in general. It also set off A LOT of car alarms.

No crater has been found since it burned up high in the sky.

We know that about 10 tons of meteorites hit Earth every year.  It’s rare for them to be seen like this during the day.   And it’s rare that it happened over land. Something like this happens usually over the oceans, since the oceans cover about 70% of the Earth. But none of what happened is unexpected for a large meteor falling through the sky and breaking up over land.  It is good, though, it didn’t hit near a big city.

There’s good reason to think that it was just a bit smaller than the Willamette Meteorite on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  So, if you’re in New York, take a trip there this weekend to see it!

Willamette meteorite, similar to the one over Russia today. Photo credit: Dante Alighieri via Wikimedia Commons/CC

Phil Plait, the “Bad Astronomer”, is keeping tabs of this event as it happens.  He has lot of videos, and is keeping in touch with his friends around the world. To read more, click here .

Also check out what NASA does to try to track these meteors, click here .

You can see more images of the meteor and the damage it caused from Yahoo! News .

Oh, and you’ll be hearing about an asteroid that will buzz by Earth today … these two events are totally unrelated!

***

Oh, and meteor, meteorite, asteroid … what’s the difference?

Asteroid =  big rock orbiting the Sun, sometimes visible with a telescope.

Meteoroid = small rock orbiting the Sun.  Never visible with a telescope  (too small).

Meteor = the bright flash or event we see in the sky as the meteoroid comes down through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Meteorite = the stuff found on the ground if the bits survive the trip to the ground.

Jason Kendall is a  New York City NASA Solar System Ambassador, and is nice enough to write stories about Space for HTE Kids’ News. If you have any questions about Space, he’s your man!  Submit any questions to him below!

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848 Comments on “Meteor Blazes Over Russia!”

  • Atri says:

    Has no crater really been found for an object of such mass? Were any pieces of the meteorite found?

    • Jason says:

      There wasn’t a crater found though there were some holes found in the ice of a nearby lake. The sides of the hole had small rocks around it that were part of the meteorite.

  • Samantha says:

    What made the meteor come and hit Russia

    • Emily says:

      Samantha: i think that the gravitational pull from earth atmosphere caused it to come and fly over Russia

    • Jason Kendall says:

      Well, no one intended for the meteorite to hit Russia, that’s for sure. The best way to think about it is that the little asteroid was orbiting the Sun for billions of years, all by itself, probably orbiting the Sun since the time of the formation of the Earth itself 4.5 billion years ago. Finally, it and the Earth were simply in the same place at the same time. Just like a bug on a car’s windshield. The bug never wanted to get splattered, but it happened to buzz across the road at the same time that the car was going down it.

  • Alexis says:

    That’s so sad

  • sandriaa says:

    i feel bad but the video was awsomee

  • Izzy says:

    Why did it hit Russia? why didn’t it hit something else? There’s a mystery here and someone’s bound to find it

  • Andre says:

    This is one MASSIVE Asteroid!
    Do you think it will happen more frequently Now that there are so many satellites out in space?

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