Friday, February 15, 2013
Fire in the sky: Nearly 1,100 injured as meteor falls in Russia
A 10-ton meteor streaked at supersonic speed over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured nearly 1,100 people and frightened countless more.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/slideshow/2013/02/15/fire-in-sky-500-injured-as-meteor-falls-in-russia/?intcmp=related#slide=2#ixzz2L1XPHWrE
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 about 1,100 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, curious about what had produced such a blinding flash of light.
The meteor -- estimated to be about 10 tons and 49 feet wide -- 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. But even small asteroids pack a tremendous punch, explained Andrew Cheng of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
"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.
The meteor hit less than a day before Asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid to the Earth for a rock of its size -- about 17,150 miles. But the European Space Agency said its experts had determined there was no connection -- just cosmic coincidence.
The meteor released several kilotons of energy above the region, the Russian science academy said. According to NASA, it was about 15 meters or 49 feet wide before it hit the atmosphere, about one-third the size of the passing asteroid.
Some meteorite fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Chebarkul. The crash left a 26-foot-wide crater in the ice.
The shock wave blew in more than 1 million square feet of glass, according to city officials, who said 3,000 buildings in the city were damaged. At one zinc factory, part of the roof collapsed.
The Interior Ministry said about 1,100 people sought medical care after the shock wave and 48 of them were hospitalized. Most of the injuries were caused by flying glass, officials said.
There was no immediate word on any deaths or anyone struck by space fragments.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/02/15/injuries-reported-after-meteorite-falls-in-russia-ural-mountains/#ixzz2L1YXTjBC