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.

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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