This just in: reports of bright meteors and loud explosions have been coming from Russia, with the incredible video above showing what appears to be a meteor exploding in the atmosphere on the morning of Friday, Feb. 15.
According to Reuters the objects were seen in the skies over the Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions.
“Preliminary indications are that it was a meteorite rain,” an emergency official told RIA-Novosti. “We have information about a blast at 10,000-meter (32,800-foot) altitude. It is being verified.” UPDATE: The Russian Academy of Sciences has estimated that the single 10-ton meteor entered the atmosphere at around 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and disintegrated 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) up. Nearly 500 people have been injured, most by broken glass — at least 3 in serious condition. (AP)
Chelyabinsk is 930 miles (1,500 km) east of Moscow, in Russia’s Ural Mountains.
Preliminary reports on RT.com state that the meteorite “crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the city’s internet and mobile service.” 150 minor injuries have also been reported from broken glass and debris created by the explosion’s shockwave.
ADDED: More videos below:
Contrails and explosions can be heard here, with breaking glass:
Over a city commercial district:
And yet another dash cam:
Watch the garage door get blown in at the 30-second mark:
Here’s a great summary from Russia Today
This event occurs on the same day that Earth is to be passed at a distance of 27,000 km by the 45-meter-wide asteroid 2012 DA14. Coincidence? Most likely. But – more info as it comes!
Read what Phil Plait has to say about this on his Bad Astronomy blog here.
News source: Reuters. H/T to Matt Arnold.