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Meterorite Hits Russia - pics from National Geographic with Videos
3 years ago

Fragments from a passing meteor hurt at least a thousand people in central Russia on Friday, according to news reports.

More than 200 children were among those injured in the Chelyabinsk region, Russia’s Interior Ministry told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

“Verified information indicates that this was one meteorite which burned up as it approached Earth and disintegrated into smaller pieces,” said Elena Smirnykh, deputy head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry press office, according to RIA Novosti. Warning that there could be a meteor shower, Russian authorities have cancelled school and told people to stay inside.

The meteor was likely moving at a speed in tens of kilometers a second, resulting in a “very, very violent event” that planetary scientist Marc Fries likened to “firing a rifle bullet into a swimming pool.”

The object’s size is still unknown, although some scientists suspect it may have been car-size.

On social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, video from central Russia showed a large ball of white streaking across the sky before crashing to Earth, appearing to send out a cloud of white light. Twitter lit up with news of the meteorite, with #RussianMeteor, #Chelyabinsk, and #meteor all trending on Friday morning.

“You can see in the videos that it glows brightly—it’s actually hotter than the melting point of stone at that point,” Fries, a research associate in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, said on Smithsonian’s website.

Meteorites this size are relatively rare, occurring about once a decade, he noted.


This post was modified from its original form on 15 Feb, 11:50
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