Chelyabinsk Fireball

This video is a news report on the meteoroid that hit Chelyabinsk on Friday, February 25.  It shows footage taken from car cameras and CCTV. You can see the smoky trail of the bright fireball.  Windows and doors are shattered by the shock waves.  The reason that there is little reaction by some people is because the light was seen before the impact of the shock waves was heard, this is because light of the meteor travels faster than the bang of the shock waves.

It flew through the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 15 km/s.  The whole rock  that flew through the atmosphere is thought to be 17 m wide. That is bigger than a double decker bus! It also weighed about 10,000 tons.  It began to break up into fragments about 30-50 km above the Earth’s surface.  Part of the meteorite crashed into a lake.

Use this impact calculator to see how much bigger the impact could have been. What if the rock had been just a bit bigger….?

People are also questioning whether a predicted asteroid: DA14, three times larger than the Chelyabinsk meteoroid are related but it is nothing more than a coincidence that the asteroid was passing close to the earth later the same day as the meteor strike.

For full details of the orbit of this meteoroid see this paper, published Feb 21.

written by Ellen and Eoghan, TY Placement Students

For second level teachers/students, NASA have published an exercise to calculate the properties of this meteoroid: Maths Rocks: A Lesson in Asteroid Dynamics is here.

Featured image CREDIT: Russian Emergency Ministry

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