17 February 2013

Russian Meteorite has nothing to do with 2012 DA14

This story begins approximately a year back. In February 23, 2012, a free asteroid was discovered. It was calculated that this asteroid would travel very close to Earth on February 15, 2013. This asteroid was named 2012 DA14. This asteroid was approximately 50 meters in diameter. The asteroid was said to travel as close as 30,000 km from Earth which is closer than the Geosynchronous orbit (Orbits of Geosynchronous Satellites).

An Artistic Impression of Earth and Asteroid 2012 DA14

Trajectory of Asteroid 2012 DA14

About 15 hours before the passing of this asteroid there was a meteor event near Chelyabinsk, Russia. An object (now called Chelyabinsk Meteor) from space entered the Earth’s atmosphere thereby becoming a fireball. This object was estimated to be of a diameter of 17 meters. This object was undetected until it reached the atmosphere due to its relatively small size. This object was said to have been travelling at a speed of 108000 km/h before impact. The energy released by this meteor was said to be 500 kilotons of TNT which is 20-30 times more than that of the atom bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This energy created a shock wave which injured about 1200 people mainly due to the glass shattered from windows. Three impact sites of the meteor were found. One of the impact sites had fragments of the meteorite.

Trail left over by Chelyabinsk Meteor

NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) confirmed that the Chelyabinsk Meteor had nothing to do with the asteroid 2012 DA14. The asteroid continued to pass through about 15 hours after the event. They are still investigating on the meteor.

A video of the Meteor and the shock wave it left

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