A meteor streaked through the skies above Russia’s Urals region Friday morning before exploding with a flash and boom that shattered glass in buildings and left about 1,000 people hurt, authorities said. Described by NASA as a “tiny asteroid,” the meteor’s explosion created a blast in central Russia equivalent to 300,000 tons of TNT, the space agency’s officials said Friday, adding that the incident was a once-in-100-years event.
The injured included more than 200 children. Most of those hurt are in the Chelyabinsk region, though the vast majority of injuries are not thought to be serious. About 3,000 buildings were damaged — mostly with broken glass — as a result of the shock waves caused by the blast, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.
Amateur video footage showed a bright white streak moving rapidly across the sky, before exploding with an even brighter flash and a deafening bang. The explosion occurred about 9:20 a.m. local time, as many people were out and about. It was captured in vivid images by Russians, many of whom used dash cameras inside their vehicles.
The national space agency, Roscosmos, said scientists believed one meteoroid had entered the atmosphere, where it burned and disintegrated into fragments. The resulting meteorites are believed to be scattered across three regions of Russia, one of them Chelyabinsk, as well as neighboring Kazakhstan, the news agency said.
Officials from around the world were quick to call for greater vigilance in monitoring meteors. NASA spokesman Steve Cole told CNN that scientists had determined that the Russian meteor was on a very different trajectory from the larger asteroid. Cole said he wasn’t aware whether scientists had foreseen the meteor’s entry into the atmosphere. Because meteoroids are small, they are hard to spot and there is often little warning that they are heading toward Earth, he said.
Have you ever witnessed a meteor fallout? Feel free to describe that phenomenal event here!
Source: Phil Black, Boriana Milanova and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN