Friday, February 15, 2013

The "space rock" .

Just think . Today February 15th , 2013. would have been a bang! At least for Russia , they got all the fireworks .The dramatic fireball that exploded over Russia today (Feb. 15) was apparently the biggest such blast in more than a century, scientists say. The object that caused the Russian fireball, which damaged hundreds of buildings and wounded perhaps 1,000 people in the Chelyabinsk region, was originally probably about 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter and weighed roughly 7,000 tons, said Peter Brown, director of the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. A 150-foot asteroid hurtled through Earth's backyard Friday, coming within an incredible 17,150 miles and making the closest known flyby for a rock of its size. In a chilling coincidence, a meteor exploded above Russia's Ural Mountains just hours before the asteroid zoomed past the planet. Scientists the world over, along with NASA, insisted the meteor had nothing to do with the asteroid since they appeared to be traveling in opposite directions. The asteroid is a much more immense object and delighted astronomers in Australia and elsewhere who watched it zip harmlessly through a clear night sky. Asteroid 2012 DA14, as it's called, came closer to Earth than many communication and weather satellites orbiting 22,300 miles up. Scientists insisted these, too, would be spared, and they were right. The asteroid was too small to see with the naked eye even at its closest approach around 2:25 p.m. EST, over the Indian Ocean near Sumatra. Prof. Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, told the BBC that 2012 Da14 approached Earth from the south, while the meteor struck the Earth’s atmosphere in the northern hemisphere, indicating that the objects were traveling in different directions. “This is literally a cosmic coincidence, although a spectacular one,” he said. It was tragic that people got hurt from this 10-ton meteorite but the raw video footage was very interesting to watch. It seems that more meteorites find their way through the atmosphere to Russia. The Asteroid DA14 was traveling one way and the meteorite was moving in an opposite direction. I’m thinking there wasn’t any connection but I’m not a astrophysicist .The energy released when the meteorite entered the atmosphere was equivalent to a few kilotons, the power of a small atomic weapon exploding.No deaths were reported but 20,000 rescue and clean-up workers were sent to the region to assist. The early-morning blast and ensuing shock wave blew out windows buckled some shop fronts, rattled apartment buildings and blew out windows.Experts drew comparisons with an event in 1908, when 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. NASA for many years has run the Near Earth Object Program ( that monitors all near-earth objects (i.e. asteroids, meteors) and calculates their trajectory and probability of hitting the earth. Given enough warning, we may be in a position in the future to deflect these large objects and avoid a major, planetary-scale disaster. This is a good, long-term investment that US taxpayers should support.

No comments:

Post a Comment