Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tonight's Sky for February 15: the Chelyabinsk Meteor Explosion (2013)

It was on this date in 2013 that the Siberia was rocked by a meteor explosion near the city of Chelyabinsk. The best part: thanks to the profusion of photographic technology, the incoming fireball as bright as the Sun and explosion (even brighter) was captured from numerous sources at the time and immediately following the event.

As for what took place on the ground, over 1,000 people were injured, mainly from shattered window glass caused by the explosion's shock wave. Some people even suffered concussions. Just how powerful was the blast? A magnitude 6 Earthquake was recorded over the area as a result of the explosion.

Vital stats for the meteor? It was about 50 feet across, weighed about 7,000, and released the energy of about 300 kilotons of TNT when it exploded about 7-15 miles in the air while traveling at a speed of about 40,000 mph. For the record, the Hiroshima bomb exploded with the force of about 16 kilotons, or about only 1/20th as powerful as the Chelyabinsk meteor.

And in cosmic terms, this meteor was tiny . . . 

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