Meteorite Explodes Over Central Russia

Injuring nearly 1,000

Ryan O'Hanlon

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This is a pretty realistic vision for the end of the world, right? A giant meteorite streaked across the Central Russian sky this morning and exploded over the Ural Mountains, injuring close to 1,000 people. (Quick astronomy lesson: If it burned up in the atmosphere, it’d be called a “meteor.” When the debris actually reaches Earth, it’s a “meteorite.”) Most importantly, no one died.

The meteorite exploded 50 miles west of Chelyabinsk (thankfully, since more than one million people live there), but the explosion caused a sonic boom, which shattered glass throughout the city. Most of the injuries were glass-related.

So, how big and how fast was this thing? According to The Atlantic Wire (which will answer all of your questions):

Russian scientists estimate that the meteorite weighed in at around 10 tons, according to the AP, or about 20,000 pounds—and that it hurtled toward Earth … at 33,000 miles per hour. And apparently 10 tons in space is chump change compared to the asteroid that will not be destroying Earth this evening, which is apparently the size of an Olympic swimming pool—space agencies have carefully predicted the path of that beast many times over already.

More frightening than all those big numbers: Russian authorities say the event was completely unpredictable. And more frightening than that: this video.

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