Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

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Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

Post by Earl on Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:17 pm









http://news.yahoo.com/possible-meteor-shower-reported-eastern-russia-052833588.html
Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

By Natalia Shurmina and Andrey Kuzmin | Reuters – 2 hrs 6 mins ago






CHELYABINSK, Russia (Reuters) - A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, sending fireballs crashing to earth which shattered windows and damaged buildings, injuring more than 500 people.

People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave, according to a Reuters correspondent in the industrial city 950 miles east of Moscow.

The fireball, travelling at a speed of 19 miles per second according to Russia's space agency Roscosmos, had blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail in its wake which could be seen as far as 125 miles away.

Car alarms went off, windows broke and mobile phone networks were interrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteor explosion had caused a sonic boom.

"I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it was day," said Viktor Prokofiev, 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals Mountains.

"I felt like I was blinded by headlights," he said.

No fatalities were reported, but President Vladimir Putin, who was due to host Finance Ministry officials from the Group of 20 nations in Moscow, told Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov to help those affected.

"Unfortunately, the normal work of some industrial enterprises was disrupted, people have suffered as has social infrastructure - kindergartens, schools," Putin told his Emergencies Minister Sergei Puchkov in televised comments.

"First of all, it is necessary to think about how to help the people, and not only to think about it, but to do it immediately," Putin said.

A local ministry official said such incidents were extremely rare and Friday's events might have been linked to an asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool due to pass earth. However, the European Space Agency on its Twitter website said its experts had confirmed there was no connection.

"There have never been any cases of meteorites breaking up at such a low level over Russia before," said Yuri Burenko, head of the Chelyabinsk branch of the Emergencies Ministry.

Russia's Emergencies Ministry said 514 people had sought medical help, mainly for light injuries caused by flying glass, and that 112 of them were kept in hospital.

Despite warnings not to approach any unidentified objects, some enterprising locals were hoping to cash in.

"Selling meteorite that fell on Chelyabinsk!," one prospective seller, Vladimir, said on a popular Russian auction website. He attached a picture of a black piece of stone that on Friday afternoon was priced at $49.46.

WINDOWS BREAK, FRAMES BUCKLE

The blast at around 9.20 a.m. (12:20 a.m. ET) shattered windows on Chelyabinsk's central Lenin Street and some of the frames of shop fronts buckled. The shockwave could be felt in apartment buildings in the city's center.

"I was standing at a bus stop, seeing off my girlfriend," said Andrei, a local resident who did not give his second name. "Then there was a flash and I saw a trail of smoke across the sky and felt a shockwave that smashed windows."

Chelyabinsk city authorities urged people to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up their children from schools and kindergartens. They said what sounded like a blast had been heard at an altitude of 32,800 feet.

A wall was damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but a spokeswoman said there was no environmental threat.

Although a rare occurrence, a meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 1,250 miles in Siberia in 1908, smashing windows as far as 125 miles from the point of impact.

The Emergencies Ministry described Friday's events as a "meteor shower in the form of fireballs" and said background radiation levels were normal. It urged residents not to panic.

Simon Goodwin, an astrophysics expert from Britain's University of Sheffield, said it was estimated between 1,000 and 10,000 tonnes of material rained down from space onto the earth every day, but most burned up in the atmosphere.

"While events this big are rare, an impact that could cause damage and death could happen every century or so," he said. "Unfortunately there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop impacts."

The meteor struck just as an asteroid known as 2012 DA14, about 46 meters in diameter was due to pass closer to earth than any other known object of its size since scientists began routinely monitoring them about 15 years ago.

The small asteroid was expected to pass at a distance of 17,100 miles from earth on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska in Moscow, Writing by Alexei Anishchuk and Timothy Heritage, Editing by Michael Holden)

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Re: Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:50 pm

Good morning Earl

Oh WOW! You beat me to it!

I was going to post an article about this today!
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Re: Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

Post by Skul on Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:14 pm

That is amazing! It's a shame people got injured, though.

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Re: Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

Post by Earl on Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:10 am

I must say without delay that the following line is not of my own derivation, but is to be credited to a certain MrScorpio at www.democraticunderground.com:

In Soviet Russia, space explores you.


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Re: Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

Post by Agent 47 on Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:05 pm


Meteor strike 60 miles from Russian nukes facility

Posted by Frank Munger on February 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM

According to the report from the Associated Press, the meteor struck 60 miles from the Mayak nuclear facility that contains tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

Here's an excerpt:

"The meteor could have produced much more serious problems. Chelyabinsk is an industrial town long held to be one of the world's most polluted areas, and the area around it hosts nuclear and chemical weapons disposal facilities.

"Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia said the Russian government has underestimated potential risks of the region. He noted that the meteor struck only 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Mayak nuclear storage and disposal facility, which holds dozens of tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

"A chemical weapons disposal facility at Shchuchye also contains some 6,000 tons (5,460 metric tons) of nerve agents, including sarin and VX, about 14 percent of the chemical weapons that Russia is committed to destroy."


http://blogs.knoxnews.com/munger/2013/02/meteor-strike-60-miles-from-ru.html
affraid


Q: What's the difference between an interesting astronomical event, and a catastrophe?

A: About 60 miles!
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