Monday, February 18, 2013

The Russian Ural Meteorite Impact and the Asteroid Flyby: Cosmic Coincidence?

Even though astronomers say the both events have nothing to do with each other, were the Russian Ural Region meteorite impact and the asteroid flyby just mere cosmic coincidence? 

By: Ringo Bones

Friday, February 14, 2013 could be a very memorable date for anyone interested in cosmic events as a 2-meter meteor broke up over the skies of Russia’s Ural Region producing a shockwave equivalent to five times that of the Hiroshima A-Bomb that injured over a thousand people and causing over 30-million US dollars in property damage. Pieces of the meteor had even struck as far afield as neighboring Kazakhstan.  Though astronomers say the events are unrelated, Asteroid 2012 DA14 – with a diameter of 150-meters – just came within 28,000 kilometers – just a tenth the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and grazed the orbit window of geosynchronous satellites. 

The smaller two-meter meteor that broke up over the Urals might be the one posing the most danger but our current optical and radio telescope technology are not sensitive enough to see and detect two-meter wide or smaller meteoroids as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. And even though the odds of being hit by a former celestial body is insignificantly low at 1 in 150-trillion, it doesn’t offer comfort to the over 1,000 Russians injured by flying shattered glass caused by the shockwave of the meteorite strike – though the last one such event happened in the general region was back in 1908 where a large meteorite exploded over Tunguska, Siberia. And the only person ever hit and injured by a meteorite strike was Mrs. Ann Hewlett Hodges.

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