Today in science: the Chelyabinsk meteor | Human world


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Six years ago today, a small asteroid of an estimated size of 20 meters was entering the earth 's atmosphere. The asteroid of February 15, 2013 was moving at a speed of about 12 km / s (~ 19 km / s) when it hit the protective layer of air around our planet, which did its job and caused the asteroid explosion. The hot and glowing explosion occurred only about 30 km from the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, and carried 20 to 30 times more energy than the atomic bomb of Hiroshima. . Its shockwave broke windows and destroyed parts of buildings in six Russian cities. Some 1,500 people then had to see a doctor for injuries, mainly caused by shards of glass.

Small and large bodies of space continually strike the atmosphere of the Earth. The Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which operates a network of sensors monitoring the Earth 24 hours a day for the infrasonic signature of nuclear detonations, said in 2014 that it had recorded 26 asteroid impacts on the Earth. Scale of the atomic bomb on Earth's atmosphere since 2000.

Nevertheless, on February 15, 2013, the Russian superbolide was extremely powerful. It was later described as the most powerful explosion caused by an asteroid since the Tunguska event, which razed a vast expanse of forest and killed reindeers in Siberia in 1908.

The Tunguska event is produced in a sparsely populated part of Siberia. He remained mysterious to scientists throughout the early 20th century. On the other hand, on February 15, 2013, along Russia, dashboard cameras and amateur photographers captured images of the meteor.

 Extremely bright ball in the sky with an explosion behind her above the city street.

Bright fireball over Russia on the morning of February 15, 2013. Scientists then claimed that the meteor light was brighter than the sun. It was visible up to 100 km.

Long bright line of clouds above the trees.

Steam cloud trail left by the Chelyabinsk asteroid, Russia, captured by Mr Ahmetvaleev on February 15, 2013. Image via ESA.

After the 2013 meteor explosion, it was reported that locals and schoolchildren had found meteorite fragments left behind, many in drifts. An informal market has appeared for meteorite fragments.

A large number of small meteorites fell on areas located west of Chelyabinsk and, a few hours after the visual observation of the meteor, a 6-meter hole was discovered on the frozen surface of Lake Chebarkul, in the mountains of the Russian Urals. Scientists from the Ural Federal University collected 53 samples around the hole the same day.

In June 2013, Russian scientists reported that further research was done by magnetic imaging under the ice hole in Chebarkul Lake. They had identified a larger meteorite buried in sediments at the bottom of the lake.

Following an operation that lasted several weeks, on October 15, 2013, a large fragment of meteorite was raised at the bottom of Lake Chebarkul. It had a total mass of 1,442 pounds (654 kg) and remains to this day the largest fragment found in the Chelyabinsk meteorite.

People standing around, two men pulling a big tarpaulin with a big black rock on it.

The largest fragment of Russian meteorite discovered, raised from the bed of Lake Chebarkul in the Ural, via Voice of Russia.

NASA satellites have also been able to follow the meteor plume in the Earth's atmosphere. As described in the video below, they followed and studied the meteor plume for months.

In summary: On February 15, 2013, a small asteroid created a bright meteorite on Russia, which exploded on the city of Chelyabinsk.

Read more: Former Apollo astronaut, Rusty Schweickart, describes the meteor of February 15, 2013

Deborah Byrd

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