<strong>WATCH: 5 Ways The World Will End <br />(according to the Mayan calendar and any other)<br /></strong>
A meteor scientists believe weighed up to 11 tons streaked through the Russian dawn Friday morning at supersonic speeds. Reports of a 150 mile sonic boom were reported blowing out windows in cars, and houses with glass causing a number of injuries.
The Russian Academy of Sciences believes the meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere over Chelyabinsk at speeds of up to 54,000 miles per hour, before shattering between 18 and 32 miles above the ground.
“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were OK,” said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.
“We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound,” he told The Associated Press by telephone. Another Chelyabinsk resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighbourhood started crying out that the world was ending.
Some fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Cherbakul, the regional governor’s office said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by fragments. The agency also cited military spokesman Yarslavl Roshupkin as saying that a six-meter-wide (20-foot-wide) crater was found in the same area which could be the result of fragments striking the ground.
Despite assurances by NASA and other officials, The Voice of Russia reports that St. Petersburg astronomers believe this meteor is linked to today’s approaching 2012DA14 asteroid.
[video provider="youtube" id="b6J2iniSGKI" size="medium" align="left"]
Here’s what the scene looks like in the aftermath:
— moonbird (@moonbird) February 15, 2013
Lifenews tabloid said that at least one piece of the fallen object caused damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk. According to preliminary reports, it crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the city’s Internet and mobile service.
Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.It made a bright streak through the sky and a huge boom when it exploded. Here’s a stunning video of it shining bright as it falls through the atmosphere:
Officials told Reuters that the object exploded at about 32,000 feet above the Earth.
The BadAstronomer, aka Phil Plait, warns that these things get faked all the time, but he seems convinced that this is for real. We agree, seeing so many different videos of the event that all look the same.
He says it’s most likely unrelated to the asteroid DA14 that will pass by Earth tomorrow.
I don’t *think* this meteor is related to #2012DA14; a solid 12+ hours ahead; DA14 is still pretty far out. Coincidence?
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) February 15, 2013
This video shows a shockwave about 20 seconds in, which Plait says is from the meteoroid hitting Earth’s atmosphere, not the actual explosion:
NEIC shows no earthquakes in that area of Russia, so this did not hit the ground. #RussianMeteor
— Adam (@mycroft16) February 15, 2013
And one note for those perusing the YouTube videos. A video of a burning crater is making the rounds, but that’s actually from the “Door To Hell” in Turkmenistan. Here’s a whole gallery of images of the burning crater. It is totally unrelated to today’s meteor.
It was right about the same time of day 105 years ago near the Tunguska River in Siberia when a 330 foot meteor seared through the sky and leveled 80 million trees over 800 square miles.
That asteroid was believed to have been 1,000 times more destructive than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/511e1276eab8eae72400001e/image.jpg" link="lightbox" caption="Tunguska after a 1908 meter 330 feet wide passed overhead in Siberia" source="" alt="Tunguska" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
[credit provider="Wikimedia Commons" url="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/Tunguska_Ereignis.jpg"]
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