PostHeaderIcon Russian Meteor [Update]

Okay. I trust Phil. He says this isn’t part of the passing asteroid 2012 DA14, and this is why I trust him:

The distance between Earth and 2012 DA14 is approximately correct.  The length of the meteor trail is NOT.

The distance between Earth and 2012 DA14 is approximately correct. The length of the meteor trail is NOT. *

I have tried to be as clear as I can when I created this diagram. The Russian Meteor and asteroid 2012 DA14 have COMPLETELY different paths. The directions are more-or-less correct in this diagram. The length of the meteor trail is too long, but the distance between the Earth and the asteroid is about correct.

This is why I strongly, STRONGLY think the two are unrelated. They’re just plain going different directions.

Okay. Basics:

  • Last night (3:25am UTC 2/15/2013 or 7:25pm 2/14 Seattle) an awesome meteor streaked through the skies in Russia. People (numbers vary between 100-400) were injured because the sonic boom of the meteor broke glass and possibly some buildings. So far (as of 1:34am Seattle time) there has been NO report of a meteor IMPACT. (So it’s a meteor not meteorite until confirmation). There are now likely true reports of impact.
  • The sonic boom set off car alarms as well.
  • There is a spectacular trail in the sky behind the meteor. I, Alice, suspect this is mostly water vapor, just like clouds… but I haven’t done the chemistry on that yet. (Here’s tenuous corroboration.)
  • The trail splits partway through suggesting the meteor did too. Not unusual: just cool.
  • The earliest estimate, according to @Astro_Sailor on Twitter (a friend of an acquaintance) says in-back-of-the-envelope numbers that maybe this is within the realm of 300kg. I’m positive that number will change.
    • New information: “The estimated size of the object, prior to entering Earth’s atmosphere, has been revised upward from 49 feet (15 meters) to 55 feet (17 meters), and its estimated mass has increased from 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Also, the estimate for energy released during the event has increased by 30 kilotons to nearly 500 kilotons of energy released. These new estimates were generated using new data that had been collected by five additional infrasound stations located around the world – the first recording of the event being in Alaska, over 6,500 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk. The infrasound data indicates that the event, from atmospheric entry to the meteor’s airborne disintegration took 32.5 seconds. The calculations using the infrasound data were performed by Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.” —
  • Not related to the asteroid. See diagram above/attached: mine is the best available.
  • This is also not related to the comets this year.
  • Yes, Russia got the world’s last cool meteor: the Tunguska Event in 1908.

Go read:

1) Phil Plait

2) Emily Lakdawalla

3) Alan Boyle

We all make mistakes, but I trust them and they can help you weed out the real reports from the hoax reports. There are NO flaming craters, but it is an exciting event. Hoping everyone heals up from the falling glass okay.

* Thanks to @AstroGuyz I corrected a misspelling in the original diagram. That’s what I get for blogging at 2am!

~ A l i c e !

13 Responses to “Russian Meteor [Update]”

  • ChAITANYA DEV says:

    Nice info…
    Worth Reading…:)

  • Jim says:

    we may have seen it here last night in Atlanta, about 11:00 local time. The guy who saw it thought it was going to land on top of him.

    • Alice says:

      I doubt it was the same one. This one’s path was about 200 miles long.

      • Jim says:

        No, that’s not what i meant. The trajectory I am looking for was for it’s last entry into earth’s atmosphere. What direction did it come from? From North to South? East to West? Because the one here in Atlanta could have been it’s first “skip” off the atmosphere as it was heading over the world to Russia. At the estimated speed they are saying, it very well could be one in the same.

  • Marek says:

    Couldn’t it still be a satellite that was carried by 2012DA14 and incidentally orbited in a way that earth took over as an unfortunate host?

    • Alice says:

      The angles are really wrong for that. They’re almost going opposite directions. Technically they’re going “orthogonal” to each other, not opposite, but it is a lot like opposite in this case.

  • Cheryl says:

    I was hoping there would be information on the direction — North Korea immaturely plays with rockets, as do some other entities. ??
    If you’re good at shooting pool you realize the “english” or “spin” given the “cue ball” (2012da14) — with more than one “ball” creates unobvious trajectories – except to the attentive eye.
    Hope we find some fragments – interesting.

    • Alice says:

      That’s a reasonable speculation about the spin on the object, but the beginnings of their trajectories are too far apart in addition to the directions being so wrong. I feel confident saying the two objects are unrelated.
      I also have much more trouble understanding how a rocket or missile originating on the Earth could have created the energy spread over the area in the sky this one did. That sonic boom was from an object moving so incredibly fast….

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