“President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God no big fragments had fallen in populated areas.”

As I mentioned previously, asteroid 2012 DA14 is due to make its close encounter with Earth later this evening.  Meanwhile, earlier today several hundred people in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia were injured during a visitation by the god Ogdy by debris caused by the unexpected appearance of a relatively large meteor.  It’s reported that a crater 6m (20ft) wide has been found on the shore of a lake 1km outside Chebarkul, a town in the region – created by a fragment of the meteor.  Here’s a short compilation of some of the many videos out there, from Russia Today.

The Guardian is still live-blogging the aftermath and has many more video clips.

From the BBC report

The Russian Academy of Sciences estimates that the meteor weighed about 10 tonnes and entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 km/h (33,000mph).

It would have shattered about 30-50km (18-32 miles) above ground, with most of the meteor burning up.

Scientists have played down suggestions that there is any link between the event in the Urals and 2012 DA14, an asteroid expected to race past the Earth on Friday at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200 miles) – the closest ever predicted for an object of that size.

Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, of the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, said there was “almost definitely” no connection.

“One reason is that 2012 DA14 is approaching Earth from the south, and this object hit in the northern hemisphere,” he told BBC News.

“This is literally a cosmic coincidence, although a spectacular one.”

[Where’s Jupiter when you need him?! – Ed]  Let’s just be careful out there…

Adds  According to Nasa/JPL

The Russia meteor is the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia. The meteor entered the atmosphere at about 40,000 mph (18 kilometers per second). The impact time was 7:20:26 p.m. PST, or 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 (3:20:26 UTC on Feb. 15), and the energy released by the impact was in the hundreds of kilotons.

Based on the duration of the event, it was a very shallow entry. It was larger than the meteor over Indonesia on Oct. 8, 2009. Measurements are still coming in, and a more precise measure of the energy may be available later. The size of the object before hitting the atmosphere was about 49 feet (15 meters) and had a mass of about 7,000 tons.

The meteor, which was about one-third the diameter of asteroid 2012 DA14, was brighter than the sun. Its trail was visible for about 30 seconds, so it was a grazing impact through the atmosphere.

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  • David Crookes

    Great posting, Pete. Many thanks! Astrally minded Sluggeroids can copy and paste the following line into Google video:

    1908 Mystery in Tunguska, Russia. Meteorite etc …

  • babyface finlayson

    Sadly it’s looking a bit too cloudy to have any hope of spotting 2012 DA14 even with a telescope.
    Typical occupied 6 counties weather! I blame the Brits.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    babyface,
    I think you have to be in the far east to see it anyway.
    Incidentally, I seem to remember only one Brit was blamed for N.I.’s bad weather – Michael Fish.

  • babyface finlayson

    Mister_Joe
    Probably yes for optimum viewing, but I think it should pass through the great bear about 9.30 pm over here.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    It’s a hell of a coincidence that that meteorite fell in Russia. I wonder could it have been a “travelling companion” of the asteroid. I actually wondered about the possibility of something like that last evening before the news came from Russia.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Putin believes in God? I find it hard to believe the KGB missed that.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds According to Nasa/JPL

    The Russia meteor is the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia. The meteor entered the atmosphere at about 40,000 mph (18 kilometers per second). The impact time was 7:20:26 p.m. PST, or 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 (3:20:26 UTC on Feb. 15), and the energy released by the impact was in the hundreds of kilotons.

    Based on the duration of the event, it was a very shallow entry. It was larger than the meteor over Indonesia on Oct. 8, 2009. Measurements are still coming in, and a more precise measure of the energy may be available later. The size of the object before hitting the atmosphere was about 49 feet (15 meters) and had a mass of about 7,000 tons.

    The meteor, which was about one-third the diameter of asteroid 2012 DA14, was brighter than the sun. Its trail was visible for about 30 seconds, so it was a grazing impact through the atmosphere.

  • Pete Baker

    And Joe,

    NASA experts will hold a teleconference for news media at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST) today to discuss a meteor that streaked through the skies over Russia’s Urals region this morning.

    Scientists have determined the Russia meteor is not related to asteroid 2012 DA14, which will safely pass Earth today at a distance of more than 17,000 miles (27,360 kilometers). Early assessments of the Russia meteor indicate it was about one-third the size of 2012 DA14 and traveling in a different direction.

    Details of the teleconference here.

  • Kevsterino

    The poor Russians getting picked on by celestial debris, again. But after all, Russia is the biggest country, so I guess it isn’t all against the odds and so forth.

    Great astronomy again, Pete. Good Job.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Thanks, Pete. That allays my fears that something bad might happen associated with the asteroid.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Back in the days before the Iron Curtain rusted away the Russkies might have lobbed a couple of ICBMs westward before they realised this was an extraterrestrial ‘attack’.

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks for sharing, strongbow…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Putin believes in God? I find it hard to believe the KGB missed that

    The KGB missed an awful lot of things.

    It’s interesting how everyone in Russia has a dashboard camera, which is why a large proportion of videos like this along with various spectacular car crash videos can be found from that country on Youtube. The dashcams are there due to the high incidence of insurance fraud and police corruption.

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    For what it’s worth, had 2012 DA14 hit, Ground Zero would have received an impact of around 3 megatons TNT equivalent. That’s about half the theoretical maximum yield-to-weight for a fusion nuke, and — say — a 250 times bigger bang than Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were quite primitive (in the region of 0.012-0.022 megatons).

    I’m gathering that the meteorite explosion (which, of course, wasn’t anything the heft of 012 DA14) was in the region of Chelyabinsk. My reckoning is that Chelyabinsk is about the same latitude as Portrush. There, but for the rotation of Mother Earth, goes a golf course and the Crocknamack Road.

  • Knucklehead Smiff

    Why does this gangster thank God that no big fragments had fallen in populated areas as opposed, say, to condemning God for creating and sending the damn thing in the first place ?