World The End Of The World? Terror Over Russian Meteor

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Jun 1, 2004
Moscow: "I was driving in the car across the square. Suddenly the square lit up with a bright, bright light, not a normal light," said Vasily Rozhko.

"There was literally three or four seconds of bright light, then back to normal. As I could see from the car, this trail appeared. Then when I was driving, the explosion went off," the resident of Chelyabinsk in central Russia told Russian television

Witnesses of the falling meteor over the Russian Urals spoke of their shock and horror on Friday at seeing a giant bright light in the sky that many thought was a crashing plane, followed by a loud explosion that blew out windows in many buildings.

Life News website posted video footage of children screaming in Chelyabinsk School Number 15 corridor and glass and pieces of wood from blown-out windows lying on the floor.

"First there was an unreal light that lit up all the classrooms on the right side of the school. That kind of light doesn't happen in life, only at the end of the world, then a trail appeared like from a plane but only 10 times bigger," teacher Valentina Nikolayeva, told Life News.

"First I thought it was a plane falling, but there was no sound from the engine... after a moment a powerful explosion went off," said another Chelyabinsk witness, Denis Laskov.

"In a lot of the houses on our street the windows were blown out."

"I was standing in the kitchen at that moment and saw in the sky a very bright flash at a great height. Then there was an explosion, it was so strong that the window opened, I was thrown away from it, and the cactuses that were standing on the windowsill flew all over the kitchen," Chelyabinsk resident Anton Yemelyanov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

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Witnesses posted videos filmed on cell phones showing the flash and the white trail across the blue morning sky.

In one video posted on YouTube, a driver's dashboard video camera shows a white bright light appearing in the sky, getting brighter and brighter and becoming dazzling before it appears to broaden into a huge explosion as it hits the horizon.

The leader of band Smysloviye Gallyutsinatsii from the Urals main city of Yekaterinburg, Sergei Bobunets wrote on a social networking site that he saw the flash from Yekaterinburg, quoted by local news website

"I was smoking outside the door when I looked up at the sky and suddenly the sky lit up with a bright light and something that looked like the Sun fell somewhere to the south of Yekaterinburg. Did anyone see it? What was it?" he wrote.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Re: 'The end of the world?': Terror over Russian meteor

Thanks for the picture on this story. Earlier today I kept trying to visualize the scene and what it looked like, because most of the people who were injured were hurt by glass that exploded from the sonic force.

The New York Times reports now 1200 have been injured, 200 were children in school. A portion of the article follows

Around 1,200 people, 200 of them children, were injured, mostly by glass that exploded into schools and workplaces, according to Russia’s Interior Ministry. Others suffered skull trauma and broken bones. No deaths were reported. A city administrator in Chelyabinsk said that more than a million square feet of glass shattered, leaving many buildings exposed to icy cold.

I uploaded a pdf file of the article because there are more pictures, and you can see one building where the window frames of an apartment house collapsed inward and glass fell out. Also in the article scientists have begun to explain what happened.

Estimates of the meteor’s size varied considerably. Peter G. Brown, a physics professor and director of the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario, said it was closer to 50 feet in diameter and probably weighed around 7,000 tons. He said the energy released by the explosion was equivalent to 300 kilotons of TNT, making it the largest recorded since the 1908 Tunguska explosion in Siberia, which is believed to have been caused by an asteroid.
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Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Re: 'The end of the world?': Terror over Russian meteor

If this was not the end of the story, a close call, reported by the Irish Times:

by D. AHLSTROM, Science Editor

See video at this link

A wayward asteroid has safely passed Earth this evening, making its closest approach some 28,000km above earth.

"Asteroid #2012DA14 has made its closest approach to Earth, safely passing our planet 17,500 miles above Indonesia. It's now headed away," Nasa tweeted at about 8pm.

The asteroid passed at about 7.25pm and was closer than some of the Earth's orbiting satellites, looking something like a fast moving star, but only because it is so very close.

Telescope images from western Australia, broadcast on NASA Television, showed the asteroid as a white speck against the blackness of space.

The Asteroid "passed inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites," Nasa said. The space agency has released a photograph of the asteroid's path taken from an Australian observatory.

The asteroid is one of thousands of “near earth objects” that buzz around this part of the solar system. Many cross our path as we orbit the sun, but happily none have our name on them so they sail by with no consequence. But that doesn’t mean that bodies such as the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency aren’t interested. Anything but.

Asteroid 2012DA14 is only 50m across, a mighty big rock but just a dot compared to the Earth. Even so it would give off a stupendous bang if its course was slightly different and on a collision course with earth. If it did decide to call by we would know all about it, says Terry Moseley of the IAA. Barrelling into the atmosphere would heat it up to colossal temperatures and then depending on how hard a rock it is, would smash into the earth, Mr Moseley said.

Any impact would unleash an explosion equivalent to 2.4 million tonnes of TNT, wiping out everything for thousands of kilometres around the impact site

Part of the reason for its destructive power is its speed. It is clipping along at about 27,000 km/h so it carries along a lot of potential energy.

This is why international programmes have been set up to watch for near earth objects. Several thousand are known and these whizz by otherwise unnoticed far enough away to be beyond the lunar orbit. The watchers however don’t lose sleep over these, they worry instead about the one’s we haven’t discovered yet, the ones that appear without warning out of the darkness of space.

So far our experience of near earth objects has more to do with Hollywood than anything else, but the watchers maintain their vigil for the one we can’t dodge.

Travelling at between 20,000km/h and 30,000km/h - around 8km a second, or eight times the speed of a rifle bullet - the asteroid flew inside the orbits of high geostationary satellites some 35,406km above the Earth. Precise calculations show there was absolutely no possibility of DA14 hitting the Earth.

But scientists have a good idea of what the effect of such an impact would be because a similar-sized meteor devastated a remote region of Siberia in 1908, flattening forest over an area of 2,150 sq km. Exploding a short distance above the ground over Tunguska, the object generated a blast 1,000 times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The American space agency Nasa has plans for a future mission called Dart which will fire a probe at an asteroid to see if it can be moved.

Fewer than 10,000 of the asteroids which could one day pose a threat to the Earth have so far been identified. This is less than 10 per cent of all the objects that may be out there, according to Dr Lindley Johnson, head of Nasa’s Near Earth Objects observations programme.

See tips for viewing tonight's passing asteroid here.

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Re: 'The end of the world?': Terror over Russian meteor

Excerpt from The Daily Mail and video at this link

Teacher Valentina Nikolayeva, who tried to protect her pupils from the force of the blast said: ‘There was an unreal light that lit up all the classrooms.

‘That kind of light doesn’t happen in life, only at the end of the world – then a trail appeared like from a plane but only ten times bigger.’

The emergencies ministry said that more than 20,000 rescue workers had been dispatched to locate and help those injured in Russia’s industrial heartland and an area that houses nuclear and chemical weapons disposal facilities.

Amazingly, there were no fatalities and most of the wounded were hurt by flying glass – some 1.8million square feet of which will have to be replaced.

Russian news networks noted that the meteor struck just hours before the Earth was due its closest recorded shave with an asteroid.

However, space experts said the arrival of the much larger asteroid was merely a coincidence.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, of Queens University Belfast, said there was ‘almost definitely’ no connection between the exploding meteor and asteroid 2012 DA14.

‘This is literally a cosmic coincidence, although a spectacular one,’ he said.

Russia’s emergencies ministry described the event as ‘a meteor shower in the form of fireballs’ and urged residents not to panic.

Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the meteor could be a symbol for the vulnerability of the economy – and the ‘whole planet’.

To video
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Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
Re: 'The end of the world?': Terror over Russian meteor Link to videos

The world is safe! Asteroid capable of destroying London skims past Earth in nearest flyby since records began


An asteroid capable of destroying London has successfully skimmed past the Earth.

The 150ft, 130,000 ton chunk of space rock was the nearest flyby for an object of this size since records began.

Although scientists said there was little chance of asteroid 2012 DA14 hitting our planet - if it did, it would have inflicted 1,000 times more damage than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Its closest approach, passing within 17,000 miles (27,357 kilometers), which is closer than some satellites, was at 7.25pm, GMT.

Close shave: An asteroid capable of destroying London has successfully skimmed past the Earth. This image, taken in Australia, shows the huge piece of space rock at it nears Earth

Frightening: The 150ft, 130,000 ton chunk of space rock was the nearest flyby for an object of this size since records began

The flyby occurred just hours after a much smaller meteor exploded above Russia's Ural Mountains.

Astronomers say the two events were coincidental, and the objects were traveling in opposite directions.

The asteroid delighted astronomers in Australia and elsewhere who watched it zip harmlessly through a clear night sky.

'It's on its way out,' reported Paul Chodas of NASA.

Sonic boom caused by meteorite hurtling above Russian town at 33,000mph smashes buildings and injures 1,000 people before the space rock crashes into frozen lake

CNN anchor suggests meteor hurtling toward Earth could be a result of global warming

The asteroid was too small to see with the naked eye even at its closest approach over the Indian Ocean near Sumatra.

The best viewing locations, with binoculars and telescopes, were in Asia, Australia and eastern Europe. Even there, all anyone could see was a pinpoint of light as the asteroid buzzed by at 17,400 mph (28,000 kph).

As asteroids go, this one was relatively small. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles across.

But this rock could still do immense damage if it ever struck given its 143,000-ton heft, releasing the energy equivalent of 2.4 million tons of TNT and wiping out 750 square miles.

By comparison, NASA estimated that the meteor that exploded over Russia was much smaller - about 49 feet (15 meters) wide and 7,000 tons before it hit the atmosphere, or one-third the size of the passing asteroid.

Speaking about the back-to-back events, Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science, said: 'This is indeed very rare and it is historic.

'These fireballs happen about once a day or so, but we just don't see them because many of them fall over the ocean or in remote areas. This one was an exception.'

Dave Herald, an amateur astronomer in Murrumbateman, Australia, captured the asteroid - seen here as the black line as it moves across the sky/ The three minute exposure shows the fast movement of Asteroid 2012 DA14 seven hours before closest approach. At its closest approach, the object will be moving so fast as to cover this distance in approximately 15 seconds.

The asteroid was invisible to astronomers in the United States at the time of its closest approach on the opposite of the world.

But in Australia, astronomers used binoculars and telescopes to watch the point of light speed across the clear night sky.

The asteroid cut through the orbit of some satellites used for weather forecasting and for satellite phones and television.

This afternoon it was spotted by amateur astronomer Dave Herald in, Murrumbateman, Australia.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is seen as a streak running almost vertically at centre of the image.

The streak is quite regular - indicating no major brightness variations over a time scale of three minutes.

At closest approach, the object was moving so fast as to cover this distance in approximately 15 seconds.

Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object program at the Jet Propulsion Lab, has insisted: 'No Earth impact is possible.'

A few hundred satellites orbit at 22,300 miles, higher than the asteroid's path, but scientists say the chance of it hitting one is extremely remote. Nevertheless, satellite operators have been warned

However, he added, its journey through space will bring it so close to our planet that stargazers from Europe to Australia will be able to see it with just a pair of binoculars.

'This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.'

The half-hour broadcast from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, included a real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth.

There were also live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia.
Scientists have never observed such a narrow miss before.

Through binoculars, the object was visible as a tiny dot of light crossing the sky. It was recommended to look towards the north-east horizon around two hours after sunset.

'It will be too faint for the naked eye but with binoculars it should be visible if you know where to look. It will be low to the north-eastern horizon and moving quite quickly,' he said.

'You’ll be able to see it pass from the constellation Leo to roughly the Plough, more or less from anywhere in the UK, and it will be bright for about an hour.'

Asteroid 2012 DA14 belongs to dangerous family of near-Earth objects (NEOs) that are small enough to be missed but large enough to cause serious damage.

It was discovered in February last year by La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain as it fell under the spotlight of the Sun’s rays, and has been closely tracked ever since.

Travelling at between 12,427mph and 18,641mph the asteroid will fly inside the orbits of high geostationary satellites some 22,000 miles above the Earth.

These are the satellites that provide us with telecommunications and weather forecasts,' said Dr Brown. 'There are loads of them but you’re talking about a very big area. It would be very unlucky if a satellite was hit.

'The asteroid is more likely to hit some space junk, but most of this is only about a centimetre across and the impact won’t even be noticed.'

The asteroid posed no danger to the International Space Station, which orbits at an altitude of only a few hundred kilometres.

The 150ft-wide, 130,000-ton asteroid is considered small as these things go. By contrast, the one that took out the dinosaurs 65million years ago was 6 miles wide.

Precise calculations showed there was absolutely no possibility of DA14 hitting the Earth, Dr Brown said.

But scientists had a good idea of what the effect of such an impact would be because a similar sized meteor devastated a remote region of Siberia in 1908.

Exploding a short distance above the ground over Tunguska, the object generated a blast equivalent to 2.4million tons of TNT.

Forest was completely flattened over an area of 830 square miles.

'We think the object that impacted at Tunguska would have been of a similar size to DA14,' said Dr Brown.

'Actually, it exploded in the air. It didn’t destroy humanity, but if this object had exploded over London it would have wiped out London.

'It’s not a global impact, but it’s a severe impact.'

The likelihood of something this size striking Earth is once in every 1,200 years; a close encounter like this is thought to occur every 40 years.

During the flypast, scientists will use radar to study DA14 and learn about its composition and structure.

The knowledge could prove useful if steps have to be taken to remove the threat of another space rock.
The 'Hollywood option' of blowing up an incoming asteroid has been ruled out by experts.

Such a dramatic solution would only result in deadly debris raining down on Earth so scientists are instead looking at ways of gently nudging an asteroid onto a safer trajectory.

The bulk of the solar system's asteroids are located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and remain stable there for billions of years. Some occasionally pop out, though, into Earth's neighbourhood.

Nasa has published these three videos about asteroid 2012 DA14's flyby

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