Meteor Hits Russia Injuring More than 1,000 People [Video]
A meteor hurled across the sky of Russia and exploded with a flash on Friday, injuring more than 1,000 people.
Of the 1,000 people hurt, many were hurt by glass that shattered from the sonic wave created by the explosion of the 11-ton meteor, Russia's Emergency Ministry said.
"I am scratching my head to think of anything in recorded history when that number of people have been indirectly injured by an object like this... it's very, very rare to have human casualties," Robert Massey, deputy executive secretary of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), told AFP.
The meteorite entered the Earth's atmosphere at 33,000 mph and shattered into pieces about 18-32 miles above the ground, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement to RIA Novosti. Reports conflicted on what exactly happened in the clear morning sky.
The meteor exploded above the central Ural Mountains in the Chelyabinsk region, about 900 miles east of Moscow near the border of Kasakhstan.
“At 9:20 am (0320 GMT) an object was observed above Chelyabinsk which flew by at great speed and left a trail behind. Within two minutes there were two bangs,” regional emergencies official Yuri Burenko said in a statement.
Meteorite fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Chebarkul. The meteor crash also left an eight-meter (26-foot) -wide crater in the ice. Thankfully, at this moment, there have been no reports of citizens being hit directly by falling pieces of the Russia meteor.
An amateur video was broadcast on Russian television and showed the meteor shooting across sky about 9:20 a.m. local time (0320 GMT), leaving a thick white tail and then an intense flash.
Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science, said on NASA TV, "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."
In 1908, a meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 1,250 miles in Siberia, breaking windows as far as 125 miles from the point of impact.
While everyone's focus has been on the asteroid known as 2012 DA14 that is to pass by Earth at a historical close distance, this Russia Meteor had no connection.
Meteorite crash in Russia: Video of meteorite explosion
Meteorite explosions in the skies of Russia's Urals region has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones stopped working.
Meteorite hits Russia lighting sky, shattering windows
People in the Urals in Russia have seen burning objects raining down from the sky after a meteorite exploded above the Earth. Eyewitnesses reported several blasts rocking the region and long trails of smoke in the air.
The Telegraph has a great graphic illustrating the paths of the meteor and the asteroid.