Earthlings just can’t catch a break from space debris today.
This morning a massive meteor burned up over central Russia, sending off a sonic boom that shattered windows and set off car alarms, reports Slate’s Phil Plait. More than 500 people sought out medical help after being injured by flying glass, according to Reuters.
Below you can find a few jaw-dropping videos recording the meteor burning up in the sky. The Russian site Chelyabinsk has an astounding collection of photos around the event.
In other space news today, astronomers are also tracking the asteroid 2012 DA14 as it passes by Earth at an uncomfortably close 17,000 miles. (Don’t worry, nobody expects it to actually hit us.) My first thought upon hearing about the Russian meteor was that it was actually a part of DA14, but Plait notes that he doesn’t believe the two are related.
“For one thing, this occurred about 16 hours before DA14 passes,” Plait wrote. “At 8 kilometers per second, that’s nearly half a million kilometers away from DA14. That puts it on a totally different orbit.”
He also points out that the meteor appeared to be moving east-to-west, judging from the position of the sun in the videos across the web. DA14 is approaching Earth from the south, so any debris would be moving south to north.
This video shows the meteor streaking across the sky from an in-car camera:
This one was taken by someone on the street. You can hear the glass from nearby buildings shattering around him: