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Emily LakdawallaFebruary 15, 2013

BREAKING: Meteor fall causes damage in Russia [UPDATED]

Watch the video from our live-webcast about the Russian Meteor and Asteroid 2012 DA14's closest approch from earlier today.

UPDATES on the morning of February 15

I am traveling so can't do my usual thorough picture post until Monday. So, until then, I'll just post some more links to useful resources on this story.

News stories about the Russian Meteor:
Fact-filled update from Nature
Guardian article with answers to FAQs
RIA Novosti article

Useful graphics:
Awesome several frame video showing meteor train dissipating from Meteosat-9
Still image from Meteosat-9
Really cool view of meteor train on Earth's limb from Meteosat-10
Diagram explaining how Russian meteor and asteroid 2012 DA14 are not related (Alice's Astro Info)
Another explanation with diagram of how meteor and DA14 are not related (Michael Khan)
METEOSAT image plotted on Google Maps to show that train is about 320 km long
Sonic boom recorded in seismograms
Amusing poster from Neil Tyson
: "Asteroids are nature's way of asking: How's that space program going?"
Great infographic summarizing the impact and its effects from the Guardian UK
Animated GIF processed from a dashcam of the meteor flaring in the sky

Background information:
Explainer on what causes meteors to explode by Ethan Siegel (from 2009 but quite relevant)
Answers to FAQs about meteors (frequency, brightness, etc) from the AMS

Quick and dirty roundup of Russian Meteorite stories So at about 0325 UTC on February 15, there appears to have been a very large meteor event in Russia, near the town of Chelyabinsk. Videos show a massive fireball, outshining the Sun (which had not, in fact, quite risen yet). Many videos show a contrail, which is intriguingly split. Many of these videos suddenly get shaky and loud as the shock wave hits. The bangs, as Phil Plait pointed out in his post, are not of the meteorites hitting the ground, but are rather from the sonic boom of the fast-moving and exploding meteor. The shock wave is so forceful that many of the videos include the noise of shattering windows.

I'll let Phil do the analysis, as he has already done on his blog. For more measured journalistic media reporting on what has yet been confirmed, check Alan Boyle.

Here is a very quick and dirty set of links to videos and information. I can't do more tonight because it's late and I'm traveling. If you see another good video -- post a link in the comments, please!

Reuters story
LiveJournal website listing videos, images of damage

Views of meteorite arcing through sky, from car dash-mounted webcams
(distant) (7c-0iwBEswE)
much closer 1:46
more distant, flash at 0:09 of 2:59 (XRJWhnUAk0w)
brief, very bright 0:01 of 0:19 (LFsZitw6CKk)
tangential, parallel to street, lights up like daylight (f525TmMSBs0)
unusual perspective, very low on horizon, from "behind" (zJ-Y7vhS1JE)
very good dashcam view, car immobile (lxBFb9jN_HY)
VIDEO WITH BOTH BOLIDE AND SONIC BOOM! (gQ6Pa5Pv_io)

Webcam views, mostly no audio:
UE4p8gCOY7Q
Light brighter than day at 4:15 in this one (though no direct view of contrail and no audio, still neat lighting effects) (bXifSi2K278)
Light brighter than day at 0:40

After flash, shows contrail, shock waves 4:45, shock wave 20 sec in (b7mLUIDGqmw)
0:18, shock wave immediately (b0cRHsApzt8)
1:34, shock wave at 0:28 (Np_mpGYSBSA)
MANY MANY shock waves 0:32 to 0.53, very clear view of split contrail (0ozSq3yEm3g)
2:12 sound of breaking glass, multiple bangs, video of broken windows, bangs slightly quieter than above (UE4p8gCOY7Q)
Dissipated contrail, rising sun

Read more: events and announcements, asteroids, Earth impact hazard, meteors, near-Earth asteroids

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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