Asteroid / meteor hits Russia, huge shockwave (updated videos)

Note from John: The science-guy in me is just loving these videos from Russia of the meteor/asteroid that hit there in the last 24 hours. It’s really amazing to listen to the shockwave. In a few of these videos – I found some new ones – you can heart what sounds like multiple shockwaves. I’m not sure if this is the sound bouncing off mountains or what.

Here’s a video of an office when the shockwave hit:

Here’s a classroom in Chelyabinsk as the meteor shockwave hit – fortunately no one appears to have been injured:

And here’s a video that does a nice job of capturing the multiple shockwave sounds:

And here’s another one of some guys watching it happen, you can hear all the glass shatter everywhere:

In what had to be a scary and strange moment, a meteor shower dropped burning rock across a sparsely populated part of central Russia today. The region is to the north of Kazakhstan.  And the Independent is reporting that in fact it was a small asteroid that his Chelyabinsk:

The small asteroid that entered the Earth’s atmosphere over Chelyabinsk today took everyone by surprise; the fact that such an event occurs is not.

The anonymous chunk of rock that hit us today was much larger – possibly a few metres across – and was big  enough to punch its way to a much lower altitude in a spectacular fashion. Small asteroids this size almost never make it to the ground in one piece, as the increasing air pressure at lower altitudes acts effectively like a brick wall, breaking the rock apart. This releases the energy in a catastrophic fireball, leaving only a few small pieces to fall to the ground as meteorites, but with a tremendous shockwave that those near the impact point experienced first hand.

The asteroid/meteorite injured nearly 1,000 people according to NBC:

It was a once in a decade event, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, told TODAY on Friday, saying the impact was the physics equivalent of hitting a brick wall. “When you hit a brick wall, you basically explode, and that’s what happened here, and it exploded in midair,” Tyson said.

NBC also notes that an asteroid is doing a fly-by today as well:

The fireball reports spread just hours before a 150-foot-wide asteroid was due to make a close flyby, coming within 17,200 miles of Earth. It’s unlikely that there’s any connection between the fireball and the encounter asteroid, known as 2012 DA14. However, a bright flash and explosion in midair would be consistent with the atmospheric entry and breakup of a large meteoroid.

There are lots of dashboard videos from Russia that have been uploaded to YouTube, so below are a few of them. (From what I understand, Russians often have dashboard cameras to record the sometimes bizarre happenings on the roads for insurance purposes.) A big thanks to @Miro_Collas for finding so many amazing videos following the meteor or asteroid shower!

Great coverage from Al Jazeera:

This driver gets closer than he probably wanted to be.

Too close for comfort, as you can hear the crashing noises nearby.
http://youtu.be/b0cRHsApzt8

And another loud crash followed by breaking glass.

Wait for it, wait for it…around 27 seconds in, they get a surprise with a very loud “boom” from the meteor.

A bit more distance from the meteor.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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