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Meteors: Nature's way of asking "How's that space program coming along?"
February 14, 2013 10:24 PM   Subscribe


 
Ah, the Russians will be ok. I'm assuming Putin personally took care of this meteorite.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:27 PM on February 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


According to Russia Today, the Russians shot it down.
posted by empath at 10:28 PM on February 14, 2013


Russia Today link.
posted by empath at 10:28 PM on February 14, 2013


Wow.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:28 PM on February 14, 2013


Careful with that third video, it's rather loud!
posted by vasi at 10:29 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


No way they shot it down. Even if they had an ABM system that could hit it, there's no way they could have detected it fast enough to launch in time.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:35 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bill Nye says we're not getting hit by the big one.
posted by mecran01 at 10:37 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, the video is amazing, but there's pictures of damage on the ground as well. And just a day before 2012 DA14 closest approach.
posted by Long Way To Go at 10:38 PM on February 14, 2013


Those ubiquitous dashboard cams really come in handy for all sorts of events, don't they?
posted by maudlin at 10:40 PM on February 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Like Chelyabinsk Oblast didn't have enough to deal with after the Kyshtym Disaster?
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 10:47 PM on February 14, 2013


Incredible. One of the newreports I read said that the explosion was at about 10000ft above ground. That seems to be consistent with what I remember reading about meteorite impacts...that the "boom" happens in the atmosphere and not on the ground.

This is truly incredible fottage though. Just think - in all of human history there have been a handful of people who have witnessed one of these events, and overnight, that number has probably been eclipsed.

What a world. What a small world spinning through a dusty plane of dangerous rocks.
posted by salishsea at 10:47 PM on February 14, 2013 [61 favorites]


Let me know when the aliens crawl out of the craters in their tripods.
posted by arcticseal at 10:50 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Unrelatedly, Neil Degrasse Tyson left an interview mid-sentence, returning moments later covered in debris. TMZ speculates he's on crack.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:50 PM on February 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Those videos are pretty incredible.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:52 PM on February 14, 2013


In the US of A, there won't be a run on survivalist supplies, there'll be a run on dashcams.
posted by moonbird at 10:53 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the phone so apologies for crummy formatting, but here are a couple of decent roundups.

"What is Happening in Chelyabinsk?"

"Meteorite Crash Reported in Russia"
posted by ob1quixote at 10:54 PM on February 14, 2013


Like Chelyabinsk Oblast didn't have enough to deal with after the Kyshtym Disaster?

So, deadly radiation plus meteor strike? This has superhero origin story written all over it.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:55 PM on February 14, 2013 [19 favorites]


Just did a Google Maps search of Chelyabinsk and discovered that it has urban districts that go by the following names: Traktorozavodskiy, Metallurgicheskiy, Leninskiy, Sovetskiy.

I'm sure some of those have to be made up, but if not, I hope Traktorozavodskiy's okay, because I know where I'd like to take my next drunken-farm-machinery-driving holiday.
posted by gompa at 10:55 PM on February 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


So... Any bets as to if this provokes any sort of reaction along the lines of "Hey, maybe we should put some resources towards watching for these things. We're only covering how much of the sky now?" or if it's just the media spectacle du jour for a while?

Of course, as far as existential threats go, this one might be easier to get support behind combating. You can't shoot missiles at CO2.
posted by CrystalDave at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is my Number 1 recurring nightmare, to the point that I think it's a premonition. And that's exactly what it looks like in my nightmare too. Fuck. To be continued.
posted by phaedon at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


These videos are really amazing. Any of us could shoot THE footage some day.
posted by (F)utility at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2013


via mefi's own @brownpau on Twitter, a Russian LJ which is aggregating pix and vids:

http://zyalt.livejournal.com/722930.html

be sure to watch this video, apparently an interior security cam of a warehouse door near the strike location.
posted by mwhybark at 10:57 PM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


CrystalDave...when you consider how many media outlets reported a "meteor shower" in Russia, I weep for the ability of the fifth estate to advocate for better science.
posted by salishsea at 10:58 PM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


According to Russia Today, the Russians shot it down.

That sounds... somewhat implausible.
posted by Artw at 10:58 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


My number 1 nightmare is demons crawling on the book shelf. More of a night terror. Not sure which is more likely to happen.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:58 PM on February 14, 2013


Like Chelyabinsk Oblast didn't have enough to deal with after the Kyshtym Disaster?

Think about this: It took us nearly 20 years to find out about a nuclear reactor exploding. We got video of this from multiple angles on youtube within a few minutes.
posted by empath at 11:00 PM on February 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Those ubiquitous dashboard cams really come in handy for all sorts of events, don't they?

Heh...

Russia ranks 133rd among the world's nations in corruption (where number one is the least corrupt), according to Transparency International. Much of that corruption is on the part of the traffic police, an institution that, along with kindergartens and higher education, was ranked by Russians as the country's most corrupt.

Ah, Russia...
posted by Artw at 11:01 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


And just a day before 2012 DA14 closest approach.

More about DA14.

Any guesses as to how big that thing was? For the first time I really appreciate how very naked we are.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:02 PM on February 14, 2013




not just multiple angles, MANY multiple angles, within 30 minutes of the event. I went back and looked at Twitter and it's pretty clear chatter and vids were in place before that, more like 15 minutes for English-language posters. Amazing.
posted by mwhybark at 11:04 PM on February 14, 2013


Artw: "According to Russia Today, the Russians shot it down.

That sounds... somewhat implausible
"

Putin, man, I'm telling you. He took some time off from Siberian tiger wrestling.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:05 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


The guys who make the Xabber XMPP client for Android seem to be from that area, they tweeted a couple of hours ago.
Meanwhile we had an asteroid impact in our home #chelly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c-0iwBEswE … supesonic blast wave caused much damage
posted by zengargoyle at 11:05 PM on February 14, 2013


Any guesses as to how big that thing was?

Well, at the same time RT was reporting a shootdown at 20km, they were comparing it to the Tunguska event. Which seems both understandable (space rock explodes over Russia) and wrong (because as a wholly unqualified observer and with regard to your size query Imma say: smaller than Tunguska).
posted by mwhybark at 11:07 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good thing that didn't hit during the cold war, eh?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:07 PM on February 14, 2013 [70 favorites]


Putin, man, I'm telling you. He took some time off from Siberian tiger wrestling.

NOW it makes sense!
posted by Artw at 11:08 PM on February 14, 2013


There are several videos that capture the blast wave at some distance. It must have been terrifying.

(again, via @brownpau)



http://youtu.be/0ozSq3yEm3g
posted by mwhybark at 11:09 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


pic maybe a chunk hit a zinc processing plant.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:10 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are there two trails of equal size? That seems kind of odd. Though I guess if it split in two that would happen.
posted by empath at 11:13 PM on February 14, 2013


For a meteor that size that obviously exploded in the atmosphere, I'd be surprised if any large chunk reached the ground. My guess is the pressure wave collapsed part of the zinc plant's roof. But who knows?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:13 PM on February 14, 2013


God went all Michael Bay on some little town in Russia.
posted by phaedon at 11:14 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


CrystalDave: "So... Any bets as to if this provokes any sort of reaction along the lines of "Hey, maybe we should put some resources towards watching for these things. We're only covering how much of the sky now?" or if it's just the media spectacle du jour for a while?"

Judging by past history, I'm putting my money on "With all these meteors, who knows how long the earth will still be here? Better stop spending money on the environment, schools, or anything else long-term!"
posted by vasi at 11:14 PM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was fortunate enough to see a bolide in the north of Scotland when I was a teenager. It also had a double trail, so I'll guess that 2 is a normal amount of pieces for a rock to split into, and that the rest just dynamics (it's moving fast enough that the two trails end up visually parallel).

I'm only about 300km from the impact (I've been texting with friends), but unfortunately that's out of earshot... I guess I've seen my last in person. I guess it's going to be a hunk of something iron-rich. Any geologists care to comment?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:22 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I've learned anything from the years of work I've read on this subject, we should be getting some superheroes soon.


......I've wasted my life.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:23 PM on February 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, exploded into smaller chunks. If X kg of stuff fell from the heavens, X kg of stuff hits the ground somewhere. (minus any ice/gasses that stayed in the atmosphere).
posted by zengargoyle at 11:24 PM on February 14, 2013


Meanwhile...
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:29 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now we have to redo all of our leap second calculations.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:39 PM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Phil Plait at Slate.
posted by mwhybark at 11:39 PM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was about to get all poetical about how quickly we learned about this and how amazing humans are, and then I realized that the reason we have most of these images in the first place is because of the large number of Russians willing to throw themselves in front of cars for the purpose of insurance fraud. Oh you people, in both the stars and the gutter all at the same time.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:39 PM on February 14, 2013 [57 favorites]


These are intense videos, especially considering how soon they're appearing. There's gonna be even more!

I don't want to call this "good news" but I'm way more interested in this story than just about anything else for awhile.
posted by dogwalker at 11:41 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


God went all Michael Bay on some little town in Russia.

Here are some towns with smaller populations that Chelyabinsk: San Francisco, Baltimore, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Washington, DC, Miami.
posted by alexoscar at 11:42 PM on February 14, 2013 [84 favorites]


One of my fondest memories of my youth was watching a particularly spectacular perseid shower at my grandparents' farm. There were no lights, at all; and you couldn't not see them. You could even see the colors they changed to as they burned up, and a few I was able to hear, like quiet hissing whispers. The most spectacular one I saw ended up exploding and sending off splinters which burned up quickly. I heard that one too, though it was far enough away that it was barely a pop and then more hissing.

Then the dog got into a fight with a raccoon off in the distance, made some unholy noises that reminded me it was pitch black out and I was alone, and I'd probably seen the best bits already so headed inside.

The video, though. Wow, terrifying. I jumped at the one with the explosion. And the driver that is making the turn on the ramp, where it looks like for just a moment it's coming straight at him, that was terrifying. My god. I'm sure it's the movies and popular culture, but the fear I felt watching that felt primal and instinctual.

And damn that really hammers home just how little time we'd have if "the big one" hit.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:43 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


For a meteor that size that obviously exploded in the atmosphere, I'd be surprised if any large chunk reached the ground.

It's the larger ones that do reach the ground, Mitrovarr.
posted by AstroGuy at 11:47 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]




Oddly, I'm not afraid of this. My wife and I agree that the best possible thing would be for us to be hit by a meteor while we're out together. No time for terror and no one to deal with the hassle of losing the other.

This, though, is truly a "bolt from the blue." You look up, and see a bright spot in the sky. You say to yourself, "What the heck is th"*BOOM* Really amazing - from a safe distance, of course.
posted by azpenguin at 11:56 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has Sarah Palin posted video from her backyard yet?


party like it's 2008 baby
posted by eyeballkid at 12:10 AM on February 15, 2013 [23 favorites]


from reddit comments:

"In Soviet Russia, space explores you!"
posted by empath at 12:18 AM on February 15, 2013 [83 favorites]


Well, this is the last thing in the world that's going to help me get back to sleep...
posted by Benjy at 12:23 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good dashcam video of the fireball, including what looks like its fizzling out while still airborne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3pv0kweuJQ
posted by jjwiseman at 12:29 AM on February 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


On the upside. thanks to these videos I now know how to say the F word in Russian.
posted by smoothvirus at 12:30 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love this photoshop of the trail; it reminds me of that scene in Dr. Strangelove.
posted by not_on_display at 12:31 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


So how long do you wait at the red light before you realize you aren't about to be incinerated and then get driving again?
posted by empath at 12:32 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... so far this week we have the Pope's shocking resignation, a super-celebrity athlete arrested for murder, and Russia being hammered with a destructive meteor shower. Who let the Hollywood scriptwriters loose in the newsroom?
posted by oulipian at 12:38 AM on February 15, 2013 [33 favorites]


I guess it says I'm from Atlanta in that the first thing I think seeing the dash cam vids is "Wow, they all kept driving and stayed in their lanes. We'd never manage that here."
posted by strixus at 12:43 AM on February 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


not just multiple angles, MANY multiple angles, within 30 minutes of the event. I went back and looked at Twitter and it's pretty clear chatter and vids were in place before that, more like 15 minutes for English-language posters. Amazing.


Just wait till Google Glass is ubiquitous. The world's going to change.
posted by victory_laser at 12:50 AM on February 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


also - as of this post's title i am officially on board with titles being awesome. if anyone cared.
posted by victory_laser at 12:51 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: in both the stars and the gutter all at the same time.
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:03 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Iron Man 3 viral.
posted by Callicvol at 1:04 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is my favourite so far, and the loudest/most scary/most like being there-ish.
posted by estuardo at 1:10 AM on February 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


The sonic boom is what broke all the windows, I guess? I thought it was from people being close to where it landed, but I guess not.
posted by empath at 1:14 AM on February 15, 2013


Now, this. THIS IS WHAT THE FUCK I'VE BEEN WAITIN TO SEE, WHEN I GAZE AT THE SKY.

Spectacular.
posted by Skygazer at 1:23 AM on February 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


I feel that it's good to have the appropriate mood music on while perusing all the news about this.

But seriously though, I hope no one got badly injured.
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 1:25 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if they planned this for DA14, or they're really that fast, but Google has a doodle.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:28 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am SO jealous.
posted by double bubble at 1:28 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


More incredible footage beginning to aggregate on LiveLeak. (That second one with the initial shot of a snowy road and a tree, is scary as fuck.)

Even more here (Liveleak under "Meteor')
posted by Skygazer at 1:29 AM on February 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


An appropriate event for advertising Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot
posted by elpapacito at 1:30 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


(That second one with the initial shot of a snowy road and a tree, is scary as fuck.)

I glad to see the dog had an appropriate reaction. The humans in most of the videos are way too calm about the gigantic ball of fire in the sky.
posted by double bubble at 1:35 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is by far the scariest, at about 0:30, for the metorite appears to come TOWARD you ! :0 ! RUN!
posted by elpapacito at 1:36 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are people really that silent when they see a giant fireball in the sky? I would expect to hear some kind of HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT, but it's just road noise and the radio in most of the dash cam clips.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:38 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Just think - in all of human history there have been a handful of people who have witnessed one of these events, and overnight, that number has probably been eclipsed.

I think there have been a lot more of these than you're thinking. Some time in the 80's there was a meteor visible in the St. Louis area that lit up my back yard like dayligth for about two seconds and split up like this one into multiple chunks. I have vague recollections of some expert contacted by the news saying that the original chunk of rock was probably about the size of a walnut.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:40 AM on February 15, 2013




Wow!

So there was a double contrail, then a huge explosion about thirty seconds later. (The impact?) Following by a diminishing series of loud bangs. Maybe sonic booms?
posted by Kevin Street at 1:47 AM on February 15, 2013


"Are people really that silent when they see a giant fireball in the sky?"

They're just really surprised. Most people probably thought it was burning plane or missile before the impact.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:49 AM on February 15, 2013


There's certainly plenty of swearing once the sonic boom hits.
posted by estuardo at 1:54 AM on February 15, 2013


"Phil Plait at Slate."

Oh, so it didn't actually hit the ground. That enormous explosion is the sonic boom from the meteor passing overhead. And the other bangs are previous shockwaves that are just now reaching the observers?
posted by Kevin Street at 2:08 AM on February 15, 2013


I was fortunate enough to see a bolide in the north of Scotland when I was a teenager.

One summer night when I was in grade school in my hometown in Idaho, I was standing looking north with a friend and we saw a fireball shoot due north, appearing at about 45 degrees above the horizon. It glowed yellow green and it was big -- enough to show as much surface area about a fourth of the moon in size. And it broke into smaller pieces before it burnt up. That was the wowser of my shooting star sightings. No sound, though.
posted by y2karl at 2:31 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why always Russia? All the weird things happening there.
posted by bdz at 3:03 AM on February 15, 2013


because probability: at 17,075,400 square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the world
posted by helion at 3:09 AM on February 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


Also because Russia.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:23 AM on February 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


Sadly enough, the one actual organization that's supposed to be working on protecting us from impacts, B612, has zip about this on their home page. Their Twitter is on it though.

Rt.com has plenty of photos and video.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:28 AM on February 15, 2013


Wowie zowie, this is amazeballs!
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:29 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, in relation to the asteroid today, the B612 society held a Google Hangout (YT video available) yesterday with astronauts Edward Lu and Ron Garan and Phil Plait.
posted by dhartung at 3:37 AM on February 15, 2013



Putin, man, I'm telling you. He took some time off from Siberian tiger wrestling
assassinating journalists. FTFY
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 3:51 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hundreds injured by the shock wave. Presumably one of the only confirmed times in history that a meteor caused injuries.
posted by gubo at 3:52 AM on February 15, 2013


An Italian weather enthusiasts website is reporting about one additional meteoric event near Russia (Kazakistan) here (italian).
posted by elpapacito at 3:55 AM on February 15, 2013


The asteroids are now targeting Bruce Willis, specifically.
posted by Optamystic at 4:00 AM on February 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Good thing that didn't hit during the cold war, eh?

The BBC reported this morning that there was one Russian politician who believes it wasn't a meteor, and that it was debris from the United States testing nuclear weapons.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:02 AM on February 15, 2013


elpapacito: This is by far the scariest, at about 0:30, for the metorite appears to come TOWARD you ! :0 ! RUN!

That's a very good capture of the fireball, maybe the best I've seen, but it's low in the sky because it's farther away from the driver, not closer.

Something is actually coming AT you when it's not moving in the sky, just getting bigger. If you see significant motion, it won't hit you, although if the motion is small, or if the object is large, that may not matter very much. "Almost" definitely counts with kilo- or megaton-class explosions.
posted by Malor at 4:03 AM on February 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is in part why so many humans started to believe in gods. Why so many still do is uncertain.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:12 AM on February 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Here are some towns with smaller populations that Chelyabinsk: San Francisco, Baltimore, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Washington, DC, Miami.

More like: Rochester, Tucson, Honolulu, Tulsa, Fresno, Bridgeport, Albuquerque, Omaha.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:13 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, that RT article is a great example of the non-journalism we get today. In one paragraph they say:
Russian space agency Roskosmos has confirmed the object that crashed in the Chelyabinsk region is a meteorite: “According to preliminary estimates, this space object is of non-technogenic origin and qualifies as a meteorite. It was moving at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s.”
But then in the same article they say:
According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers, local newspaper Znak reports quoting a source in the military.

Regnum news agency quoted a military source who claimed that the vapor condensation trail of the meteorite speaks to the fact that the meteorite was intercepted by air defenses.
... without bothering to mention that 30 km/second is 67,108 miles per hour, or 88 times the speed of sound, and that claims of interception are, therefore, exceedingly unlikely.
posted by Malor at 4:16 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


You have been a participant in the biggest interdimensional cross-rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909! *
* (It was 1908, Ray.)
posted by steef at 4:20 AM on February 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


A missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers, local newspaper Znak reports quoting a source in the military.

Yeah, reports started coming through on Twitter that they'd blown it out of the sky. That's about the point where I put down Twitter for the day, and moved onto more productive things.
posted by Jimbob at 4:38 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson just quoted this entry's title on Morning Edition.
posted by Guy Smiley at 4:41 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guy Smiley: "I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson just quoted this entry's title on Morning Edition."

He also put it on Twitter, yesterday! He must be psychic!
posted by vasi at 5:09 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]




The asteroids are now targeting Bruce Willis, specifically.

To paraphrase Mort Sahl paraphrasing Werner Von Braun: I aim at Bruce Willis but sometimes I hit Chelyabinsk.
posted by y2karl at 5:11 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


It looks like Google tastefully took down their doodle for 2012 DA14's close pass, but you can still see it here.
posted by steef at 5:14 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's lame that some hot shot little meteor hears about 2012 DA14's approach and just HAS to jump in front and get all the attention.
posted by orme at 5:29 AM on February 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile the T. Rex skeleton at my local dinosaur museum is all like "LOL u n00bs"
posted by chinston at 5:30 AM on February 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


For some reason it took me several minutes of head scratching to realize that the explosion and shockwave are like thunder and lightening. Hence you see the trail go out and then the kaboom comes later.
posted by humanfont at 5:33 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've seen this plot line before
posted by ChipT at 5:57 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why always Russia? All the weird things happening there.

Except for the obvious climate differences, I'm getting the feeling that Russia is sort of the Florida of Europe.
posted by jquinby at 6:02 AM on February 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Technically, Russia is in Asia, but i share the sentiment .
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:03 AM on February 15, 2013


Why always Russia? All the weird things happening there.

Because it's an enormous chunk of real-estate with a fairly large population. Lots places for weird shit to happen, and someone nearby to see it and record it with the dash-cam their insurance company made them install.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:05 AM on February 15, 2013


"Sooner or later it was bound to happen..."
posted by bondcliff at 6:07 AM on February 15, 2013


Not sure if it was already linked above, but this video, posted from Russia today, purports to show a still-burning crater.
posted by LondonYank at 6:11 AM on February 15, 2013




And now I have the scene from the asteroid episode of The Simpsons where Flanders sings Que Sera Sera as an asteroid approaches stuck in my head.

because probability: at 17,075,400 square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the world

Actually if we're talking about probability, shit should be landing in the oceans. Of course it probably does, all the time.

It's feels worth pointing out that Central Russia would be pretty much the worst place on Earth for an asteroid to impact, since the fire that would burn in the forests there (beyond just the initial dust kicked up by the impact) would...well, let's just say that would be one way to counter-act man-made global warming pretty quickly.

In summation, I'm glad I didn't see this before I went to bed.
posted by dry white toast at 6:13 AM on February 15, 2013


That burning crater is a natural gas vent that's been on fire for like twenty years.
posted by empath at 6:18 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not sure if it was already linked above, but this video, posted from Russia today, purports to show a still-burning crater.

What empath said. It has a sweet name.
posted by jackflaps at 6:19 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nobody blaming the DPRK yet? What a missed opportunity.
posted by flabdablet at 6:20 AM on February 15, 2013


That video is a natural gas fire that's been going for many years, not a meteor impact crater.

Derweze
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:20 AM on February 15, 2013


Wow, definitely check out the link a few comments upthread, from bonobothegreat, "Sooner or later it was bound to happen".

I had NO IDEA.

Seriously, watch it. It's just about worth a post all by itself.
posted by Malor at 6:23 AM on February 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


See, this validates my hobby of watching many, many hours of Russian road accidents caught on dash cams. The de facto surveillance state has certain benefits.
posted by sonascope at 6:27 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


ooops!
posted by LondonYank at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2013


Having grown up in Florida and studied and lived in Russia, I totally can't favorite the "Russia is the Florida of Europe" comment enough. That should be their marketing slogan for their tourist campaign. Also, someone upthread mentioned the oddly named districts of the city and wondered if they were made up. I was researching the drive during Stalin's time to industrialize Russia using slave labor, and I read that lots of people, caught up in the patriotic fervor, named their babies "Tractorina" and "Elektrifikatsia," and "Illuminata." I love Russia so much, and I also love space debris. This post is like crack for me. Though I am sincerely sorry that people got hurt, and it must have been really terrifying.
posted by staggering termagant at 6:35 AM on February 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wow, thanks bonobothegreat (and Malor!) for that video -- it's fascinating! ... and a bit alarming.

Also, my screen is now spinning counterclockwise. Wheeeeeeeeeeee

> Nobody blaming the DPRK yet? What a missed opportunity.

Surprised they're not taking credit for it themselves.
posted by Westringia F. at 6:38 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Photos from Chelyabinsk. (Text in Russian.)
posted by jackflaps at 6:41 AM on February 15, 2013


That video is great, but be sure to watch it in 1080p full screen, it's quite a different experience than the default size.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:50 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reports of zombie sightings near the Ural meteor site have been confirmed.
posted by Ardiril at 6:50 AM on February 15, 2013


Meteorite: 2012 DA14, I'ma let you finish but, BOOM!
posted by Splunge at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


It makes sense once you think about it, but I was really surprised to see people filming a contrail for 20-30 seconds, and then hearing an impact. My first intuition after the first few seconds was, "Oh this must be after it already hit the ground."
posted by straight at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2013


The shape of the vapor trail is not what I would have expected. It's puffier and a lot more ragged.
posted by chinston at 7:11 AM on February 15, 2013


That asteroid video link from bonobothegreat deserves a sidebar or a FPP. And definitely watch it in HD.
posted by straight at 7:14 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


That BOOM. My god. I wonder how many people heard it and assumed someone somewhere had pushed the red button.
posted by scratch at 7:15 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


> These videos are really amazing. Any of us could shoot THE footage some day.

Yeah, but no-one would be left to watch it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:16 AM on February 15, 2013


This looks legit. Anyone care to translate?
posted by bondcliff at 7:30 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lord_Pall: "Asia"

Except for the big part that's in Europe.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:30 AM on February 15, 2013


Bad news, guys: this may affect the hockey playoffs.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:31 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone care to translate?

Automatic translation is pretty consistent with the original piece.

In response to another MeFi comment, PM Medvedev declared entire planet "vulnerable".
posted by hat_eater at 7:40 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to admit that when I first started reading this thread I thought it was for some cgi project or viral video. It took seeing a couple videos before realizing the truth. It says something about The Blue...or how drunk I was.
posted by happyroach at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... so far this week we have the Pope's shocking resignation, a super-celebrity athlete arrested for murder, and Russia being hammered with a destructive meteor shower. Who let the Hollywood scriptwriters loose in the newsroom?


Don't forget North Korea testing a nuclear weapon. And on the night of the State of the Union, a police standoff with an accused murderer with a manifesto ended in a fiery cabin -- which basically felt like a missing episode of The West Wing.

It's like a coked-up verson of Aaron Sorkin around here. Which is...um...really saying something.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:49 AM on February 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


Jordy Verrill, you unk head, no one at the college is going to pay for a broken meteor.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I see the Russians have their own version of Republicans.

Everybody does. Even the Welsh.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2013


Can't wait to see the DA14 videos! If we survive that long.
posted by Big_B at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


bonobothegreat's link is... well we all knew it was likely but... I mean the narrator does say that these distances are all really really big... but still, watching it I feel like I've landed on some really super high level of the old Atari Asteroids that I know I can't deal with and it's just seconds before I'm going to get annihilated.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


And because it was inevitable, The Harlem Shake version.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


bondcliff: "This looks legit. Anyone care to translate?"

"Because it's different from us, see? Because it's from outer space. Ask him!"

straight: "That asteroid video link from bonobothegreat deserves a sidebar or a FPP. And definitely watch it in HD."

*ahem* (a few years old and without the narration)
posted by brundlefly at 8:19 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's just seconds before I'm going to get annihilated

Imagine Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' on a galactic scale.
posted by Ardiril at 8:19 AM on February 15, 2013


Well given all the media coverage of this, along with additional coverage of the approaching 2012 DA14 and Comet C/2012 S there is only takeaway for the general public:

Space: Be Very Afraid
posted by mazola at 8:24 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


NYT reporting more injuries:"Russia’s Interior Ministry said more than 1,000 people were hurt, 200 of them children, mostly from shards of glass that shattered when the meteor entered the atmosphere."

"The European weather satellite Meteosat-9 caught the train - the technical term for the trail."
posted by jjwiseman at 8:27 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


And possibly a chunk broke through the ice of a frozen lake (a few tiny fragments are visible on the surface): http://74.mvd.ru/news/item/845855/
posted by jjwiseman at 8:30 AM on February 15, 2013


The reporting of injuries is sort of bugging me. Yes, it's true that the sonic boom or shockwave or whatever caused glass to break, but the way they're reporting it it sounds like 1000 people were hit by rocks, and that's what most TV news watching people will walk away with.

Then there is this, where a CNN talking head asks Bill Nye if asteroids are a result of global warming. If I were Bill Nye I probably would have called her an idiot, told her she was harming the world, and walked out. This is why I'm not Bill Nye.
posted by bondcliff at 8:31 AM on February 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


How long before we see fragments on eBay?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:32 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yeah, here's a money quote from Carl Sagan (and since he said this we've seen even more asteroids hit Jupiter): "every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring—not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive."
posted by jjwiseman at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


How long before we see fragments on eBay?

About two hours ago.
posted by bondcliff at 8:36 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hah. That looks like a piece of concrete.
posted by AstroGuy at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2013


You obviously didn't read the listing. His brother is a news reporter in Russia. It's totally legit.
posted by bondcliff at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh. My bad. I better get my bid in then.
posted by AstroGuy at 8:41 AM on February 15, 2013


Man, that was some Tetris!

yeah, i stole it from someone on facebook, sue me
posted by codacorolla at 8:42 AM on February 15, 2013


About two hours ago.

Wow. Go internet. Thanks.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:47 AM on February 15, 2013


The thing that jumped out at me was how dark and gray it was in that city for 9:20 am. As much as I love winter, I don't think I could emotionally survive one at such a high latitude (55 degrees N.) I wonder how long the darkness lasts there in December?
posted by double block and bleed at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2013


I'm pretty sure most of those dashcam videos are fake.

Way too little reckless driving seen.
posted by kmz at 8:51 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


And in case anybody else is wondering, google results for "how big is a 10 tonne rock?".

How big is 2012 DA14 again?
posted by mazola at 8:57 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


A: 2012 DA14 is a near-Earth asteroid with an estimated diameter of about 50 meters and an estimated mass of about 190,000 metric tons.
posted by mazola at 8:57 AM on February 15, 2013


It's like a coked-up verson of Aaron Sorkin around here. Which is...um...really saying something.

Ahem (missing a papal resignation, but I guess that's where the coke comes in...)
posted by dry white toast at 9:00 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone else have the "was that the big asteroid?" "no, because we'd all be dead. " conversation with anyone?

Our bit of space sure is busy right now though.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on February 15, 2013


Sikhote Alin was a major meteorite fall in the other end of Siberia (which is, admittedly, large) in 1947. Hit the ground in pieces with tons of iron chunks. If it had hit a populated area, would not have been good.
posted by gimonca at 9:04 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Be on the lookout for extra colours near the lake - if you start seeing infra-green or ultra-red or anything like that back away slowly and never revisit the area again. DO NOT DRINK THE WATER.
posted by Artw at 9:04 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


dry white toast: "Ahem (missing a papal resignation, but I guess that's where the coke comes in...)"

Today I realized I'm working on a screenplay with the same title as a WEST WING episode.

Get out of my head, Sorkin!
posted by brundlefly at 9:06 AM on February 15, 2013


Nobody blaming the DPRK yet? What a missed opportunity.

There's a good joke about that in the occasionably fun but mostly wobbly as hell Iron Sky.
posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I woke up with a sore throat today I wonder if its related ( also i can hear thoughts and fly)
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 AM on February 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


This is just wow! What a way to start your day.

Ten tonne of rock really isn't that much. I've had two tonne of gravel on my truck and it's only a cube around 1x2x3 metres in size. And that has lots of voids, a solid rock would be smaller.

That Bill Nye Clip is just wow too but for different reasons.
posted by Mitheral at 9:10 AM on February 15, 2013


I always had a hard time grasping how the Tunguska event caused so much damage over such a large area with no obvious impact. Well, not any more.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 9:21 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


the "boom" happens in the atmosphere and not on the ground.

It depends on the composition of the asteroid. A nickel-iron asteroid might punch through the atmosphere while a carbonaceous one would probably break up and release its energy in the atmosphere.

Breaking up in the atmosphere would be absolutely no comfort to those on the ground because the effects would be more or less indistinguishable from an airburst nuclear weapon, minus the radioactive fallout.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love space! Space!
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nobody blaming the DPRK yet?

Yes. My father-in-law.
posted by run"monty at 9:42 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's global warming.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:42 AM on February 15, 2013


I wish we could replace nuclear arsenals with meteors. That way we could have the war everyone wants to have and then get back to work.
posted by salishsea at 9:44 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guess this is a good time and thread to ask this question - pardon my poor grasp of physics.

As the meteor enters the atmosphere, part of its "stored" kinetic energy is transformed into heat by friction, the surrounding air is quickly displaced by its mass hence part of its energy is transferred into waves of fast moving air. Now for the explosion..why does it occour? Is the meteorite converted into its "basic component", for instance as dynamate exploding (which is just a very fast combustion, afaik)? That's not quite clear to me.
posted by elpapacito at 9:45 AM on February 15, 2013


The New York Times is saying Chelyabinsk is in Siberia. It's really not, though, right?

(Wikipedia seems to say it's an and-sometimes-Y sort of deal.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 AM on February 15, 2013


it's the water and ther gases trapped i them that make them explode (mosty the water) ...from 'cold of space' to 're-entry temperatures' causing ice to suddenly become lots of steam...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:59 AM on February 15, 2013


elpapacito: My guess would be that depending on the composition of the meteor, the thermal stress and the incredible aerodynamic stress from an irregularly shaped object travelling at hypersonic speed through the atmosphere can cause it to break into pieces. More pieces means more surface area subjected to aerodynamic stress & more heating, and it quickly vaporizes and/or breaks into even smaller pieces.
posted by jjwiseman at 10:00 AM on February 15, 2013


Going by this, the density of meteorites is between 3 and 8 grams per cubic centimetre, so that puts this 10-tonne object between 1.3 and 3.3 cubic metres. That's a large armchair or small sofa.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:02 AM on February 15, 2013


Storming the Cosmos, By Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker, linked on his twitter feed which was rather nice as I'd just been thinking of it.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The New York Times is saying Chelyabinsk is in Siberia. It's really not, though, right?
It's in the Chelyabinsk Oblast, administrative unit in Siberia.
posted by beagle at 10:10 AM on February 15, 2013


I apologize, but I am unable to read a thread about meteors without blurting out “METEOR SHIT!
posted by mubba at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Elpapacito, you're making this a bit more complicated than it is.

Just think of it as a giant chunk of rock punching the earth in its face. The atmosphere is made of mass, even though its sometimes easy to forget about "air" as being made of mass. It might be easier to imagine this as water.

Suddenly there is very compressed air surrounding the "punch". Since things seek a state of equilibrium*, that compressed air travels in a shockwave out from the meteor.

BTW, the atmosphere is also "punching" back at the meteorite*, resulting in friction and the eventual breaking up of the meteorite.
posted by fontophilic at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to locate a clip I saw up thread but now I can't find it. I want a clip with both the flash and the sound.
posted by humanfont at 10:18 AM on February 15, 2013


Are there any clips that have the object and the pressure wave/sonic boom in the same shot?
posted by norm at 10:26 AM on February 15, 2013


humanfont: You won't find one. The sound occurs much later than the light effect (due to the speed of sound)
posted by AstroGuy at 10:27 AM on February 15, 2013


Regarding my offhand remark, @NASA says:

"#RussianMeteor is largest reported meteor since Tunguska event. Impact was at 3:20:26 UTC. Still being measured. More info to come."

Mmm! This crow-and-borscht pot pie I made myself is delicious!
posted by mwhybark at 10:40 AM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, Ms. dry white toast is skeptical that the loud booming thing crashing into things was a meteor and not some man-made phenomena that Russia is trying to distract from. Say a missile test gone awry.

Can we say with confidence that this originated in space?
posted by dry white toast at 10:41 AM on February 15, 2013


norm, this clip has both the flash and sound. See the note below the video by lednerg for timings.
posted by ceiba at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yes.
posted by empath at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2013


double block and bleed: "As much as I love winter, I don't think I could emotionally survive one at such a high latitude (55 degrees N.) I wonder how long the darkness lasts there in December?"
Night between 21 and 22 December: sunset 17:26, sunrise 10:19. It's not too bad, and the short summer nights* more than make up for it in my opinion. (Chelyabinsk is about the same latitude as my home town, but since it's much more off-center inside its time zone they have darker winter mornings and longer afternoons. Where I come from daytime is more like nine to four.)

*) 21 June: sunrise 05:14, sunset 22:39.
posted by brokkr at 11:01 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's just too fast to be a human-made object, dry white toast. According to the news story Malor quoted, the object was travelling at about eighty-eight times the speed of sound when it burned up.

Oh, and to those who couldn't survive at that latitude, Chelyabinsk is about 120 miles further north than my city, and we get by okay in the short winter days. The long summer days make up for it.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:02 AM on February 15, 2013


Q: If an asteroid the size of DA14 hit Hamilton ON, would anybody notice?

Trick question! Apparently the answer is yes.
posted by mazola at 11:03 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]




Can we say with confidence that this originated in space?

Given its mass and speed, which at a deeply inexpert glance appear to be well beyond the capabilities of any current launcher, the only way you could do this would be with some long, dreary series of slingshot maneuvers.

Seems like something super-duper hard to keep secret.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2013


Dude on NASA TV (and hey watch the DA14 flyby!) said the Russian meteor was about 15 meters (which is bigger than I thought).
posted by dirigibleman at 11:09 AM on February 15, 2013


          _
         | |
+-------------------+
|                   |
|  CHICKEN LITTLE   |
|        WAS        |
|      RIGHT!!!     |
|                   |
+-------------------+
         | |
         | |
         | |
         | |
         | |
          -

posted by mazola at 11:15 AM on February 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Clearly the hover conversion on the Delorean has been fixed. The real question is WHAT ARE YOU HIDING DOC BROWN?
posted by Twain Device at 11:25 AM on February 15, 2013


A screaming comes across the sky.
posted by stltony at 11:28 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Soooo, if a big enough meteor hit Moscow, would that activate the death hand? I suppose the odds are highly improbable, but it'd make a pretty good movie plot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Hand_(nuclear_war)

Hopefully none of the injuries are too bad. Glad to see that Russia's emergency response was so quick.
posted by Skwirl at 11:28 AM on February 15, 2013


==>
posted by emmtee at 11:30 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Favorite YouTube comment: "I'm from Buenos Aires, and I say: 'Kill 'em all!'"
posted by steef at 11:32 AM on February 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Current reports are that hundreds of people have been injured.

Now for the explosion..why does it occur

Don't ask in what form the energy is released, ask how much energy is released.

Kinetic energy = mass * velocity^2. m*(30km/s)^2 is a very big number even when m is only 10 tonnes. For a 10 000kg object, Ek = 9 TJ. Then all of a sudden kinetic energy = 0. Conservation of energy tells us that that energy had to go somewhere.

Joules to kiloton converter: 9TJ ~= 2 kilotons.

Bringing this meteor to a stop released as much energy as a small tactical nuclear weapon. It really doesn't matter what mechanism brought it to a stop; a nickel-iron asteroid that actually hit the ground would release the same amount of energy in a similar amount of time. Release that much energy in a very short period of time and you get a big boom.

Now can we invest in the space program?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:37 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now can we invest in the space program?

I, the President of the United States, declare open season on asteroids.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:42 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now can we invest in the space program?

No. Rocks falling on an enemy proves God is on our side and we're doing everything just right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on February 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


The thing that jumped out at me was how dark and gray it was in that city for 9:20 am. As much as I love winter, I don't think I could emotionally survive one at such a high latitude (55 degrees N.) I wonder how long the darkness lasts there in December?

Fort McMurray has it beat by one degree north, FWIW.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:47 AM on February 15, 2013


Just to make that absolutely clear, hundreds of people are now in hospital (and how many dead?) not because they were hit by rocks but because the equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon went off 10 km overhead.

DA14 is going quite a bit slower (~7km/s) but it weighs 190 000 000 kg. Quick calculation: 9 PJ, or two megatons.

Remember, DA14 is a very small one.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:49 AM on February 15, 2013


It looks like Google tastefully took down their doodle for 2012 DA14's close pass, but you can still see it here.

I think they should have left the doodle up. Sort of a warning. WATCH OUT FOR METEORITES!

Is the G supposed to be hiding behind the E? Not quite sure what that's supposed to mean. It would have been better if the G had been flattened or the second O and G were up in the air. Something.


The hole in the lake is rather impressive. I wonder if it penetrated the lake bottom, or if there was enough water to cushion it until it just sank.


Does anyone have a link to a pic of the Sikhote-Alin fall site?
posted by BlueHorse at 11:55 AM on February 15, 2013




Crosspost:

If the Earth gets hit by an asteroid today causing an extinction event then Food Fight will be the last movie I'll have ever seen.
posted by mazola at 11:58 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe someone took a shot at the big one on the way, and they took off a piece...
posted by Oyéah at 11:58 AM on February 15, 2013


Well according to Russia Today, the Russians shot it down.

(see above)
posted by mazola at 12:02 PM on February 15, 2013


Whoops, I forgot to convert from kg to g and underestimated the kinetic energy of DA14 by three orders of magnitude. It would case a ~2000 megaton explosion if it hit.

In my defense, current government policy suggests that I'm not the only one grossly underestimating the threat.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:08 PM on February 15, 2013


I want to point and laugh at the stupid Russian media, but then I remember that Bill Nye thing bondcliff linked to earlier.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:10 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well according to Russia Today, the Russians shot it down.

"Putin's Russia saves the day!" is basically all Russia Today ever says, other than, "Not-Russia fucks up yet again!"

They are very much in Putin's pocket and nothing they transmit should ever be taken as fact.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel bad for the people hurt, and boy it must have been scary. However, OMG this is so COOL!
posted by annsunny at 12:57 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]




Ah, the Russians will be ok. I'm assuming Putin personally took care of this meteorite.

He's on it.
posted by Kabanos at 1:15 PM on February 15, 2013






I just happened to be awake and on facebook late last bight so caught the news in near real time.Normally I would have been in bed, asleep. Which makes me wonder if there is a way to setup some kind of alert when something major like this happens. Not just what's trending, but what's trending on such a high level across multiple sites and time zones . . . I know google does this, but anyone know of any way to tap into something like that?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


IANAScientist, but my science knowledge is okay and the sheer speed, mass, shockwave produced by that much energy, as well as the profound immensity of this thing, puts it not only beyond the scale of man-made technology, but current levels of material design or energy technology, save a hydrogen bomb perhaps, and that can't be contained in a concentrated manner... such as the kinetic cosmically assigned energy that was contained by this meteor.

Which is all to say that the idea of "shooting it down," is ridiculous. And to report some silly stuff like that just stupid.
posted by Skygazer at 2:06 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Of non-technogenic origin.
posted by symbioid at 2:31 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also - I look forward to Alex Jones ranting about how the meteor is an inside job.
posted by symbioid at 2:32 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh - who needs Jones when you have M Bison Vlad Zhirinovsky.
posted by symbioid at 2:33 PM on February 15, 2013


but the way they're reporting it it sounds like 1000 people were hit by rocks, and that's what most TV news watching people will walk away with.

But is that a really bad thing? They are all victims of the meteorite, directly or indirectly. Also, I'm not sure that we really distinguish between civilian casualties of war who are blown up by bomb shrapnel or hospitalized by flying glass, so what's the actual idea here in minimizing the, uh, impact? People might support more sky surveys!

The thing that jumped out at me was how dark and gray it was in that city for 9:20 am

There's shortness of days, to be sure, but there's also an eerie effect (to more temperate dwellers) of an unusually low angle of the sun, even at midday. The most north I've ever been was Uppsala, and it was strange to be touring a castle at lunchtime and having a pall over everything that I associate with dusk or dawn. It was also a bit like a solar eclipse in that regard.
posted by dhartung at 3:17 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are people really that silent when they see a giant fireball in the sky?

I was born in 74. I'd have just stared at the horizon and waited for the white flash, the mushroom cloud, and the skeletons.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:40 PM on February 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


dhartung: "There's shortness of days, to be sure, but there's also an eerie effect (to more temperate dwellers) of an unusually low angle of the sun, even at midday. The most north I've ever been was Uppsala, and it was strange to be touring a castle at lunchtime and having a pall over everything that I associate with dusk or dawn. It was also a bit like a solar eclipse in that regard."

That must be it. The furthest north I've been is about 45 degrees. These videos have a gloom to them that goes beyond dirty snow and ugly buildings.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:27 PM on February 15, 2013


CNN and others report that NASA estimates the meteor exploded with a force of 300 kilotons -- not a tactical nuke, but more like a Peacekeeper warhead. The altitude and the angle kept most of the blast effect high up. On some of the videos you can hear sonic booms after the main blast.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 6:02 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


jjwiseman: "NYT reporting more injuries:"Russia’s Interior Ministry said more than 1,000 people were hurt, 200 of them children, mostly from shards of glass that shattered when the meteor entered the atmosphere.""

Just imagine the effect on a community when all of a sudden nobody has glass in their windows.

I've lived through the winter with plastic over holes in the wall instead of windows. It's not fun. Now imagine doing that in Siberia.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:28 PM on February 15, 2013


We wanted the soviets gone, and it seemed like we were stuck with them. It was 1983 and we put up a 60 year plan. First we lob a specialized spacecraft up into space. Then it just rolls around the sun 30 times until it is going really fast and then on the appointed day it smacks those Commies in the ass. We created two "rocks" code named sofa and house. The plan was to launch sofa in 83 and then house in 2013. House would be fine tuned based on sofa's performance. House would also be the really lethal one. We had a very high confidence that the impacts would be seen as natural disasters. In fact sofa was key to establishing in the global consciousness that such impacts happen.

There was one little flaw in the plan. We couldn't stop sofa one we lobbed it up there. The entire 30 mission was just one really elaborate gravity assist maneuver to get the rock to speed. In my defense no one suggested the Soviet Union was going to collapse. I'm not Uri Geller. I can't see the future or bend a spoon. At least now you know the truth and I can get that off my chest. You have to understand we were all on a lot of coke in the 80s, it was a different time.
posted by humanfont at 6:30 PM on February 15, 2013 [35 favorites]


"Russian Meteor Largest In a Century"

Oh yeah? How about August 13, 1930??
posted by Twang at 6:40 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, there's also February 12, 1947.
posted by Twang at 6:53 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


humanfont...*slow clap*
posted by salishsea at 7:00 PM on February 15, 2013


The end of the world will be displayed via Russian dash cam video, accompanied by A-ha's "Take on Me" on the radio and loud repeated exclamations of "pizdyets!" by our local narrator.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:30 PM on February 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


In, oh, 2002 or 2003 there was a meteor that went over Illinois and Wisconsin. It was somewhere around 11:30pm or midnight and I was driving home from work. The sky lit up bright as day for a couple seconds (but with a weird greenish cast), but I didn't see the meteor or a trail from it. I was scared out of my mind. I thought, given the recency of 9/11, that maybe Chicago had gotten nuked. Or maybe the rapture. I didn't have any idea!
posted by IndigoRain at 7:41 PM on February 15, 2013


We return you now to the music of Ramón Raquello and his orchestra.
posted by hal9k at 8:05 PM on February 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Meatbomb: "The end of the world will be displayed via Russian dash cam video, accompanied by A-ha's "Take on Me" on the radio and loud repeated exclamations of "pizdyets!" by our local narrator."

My understanding is that the number of Russian dash cam videos is because anyone that can afford a dash cam has one. Mainly because there is a thing where people throw themselves at cars to get lawsuit money. As well there is a habit in the cities of 'police' trying to hit people up for money for accidents that never happened. If this was already mentioned I apologize. But according to an old friend everyone who can afford a car gets a dash cam to go with it.
posted by Splunge at 8:19 PM on February 15, 2013


I can't speak for anyone else, but if I'd been standing there and saw that in the sky I think I would have literally shit myself.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:50 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There have been semi-concurrent reports of a meteor over Cienfuegos or Rodas Cuba and over San Francisco. The Cuban event images show a sunset or sunrise sky and are supposedly from prior to the Russian event, while the San Francisco meteor is after dark on the 15th.

Here is a Storify aggregating reports of these events.

I make no warranty regarding the accuracy of the reports, and found it hard to locate authoritative reporting of either event.
posted by mwhybark at 6:44 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I know my mid century British SF then we can expect triffids or spooky children soon.
posted by The Whelk at 6:58 AM on February 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't get over how much Siberia looks like the 905.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:04 AM on February 16, 2013


I can't get over how much Siberia looks like the 905.

I'm not seeing it. The 905 has trees, and hills, and markings on the roads.

519, maybe.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:23 AM on February 16, 2013


Apropos of nothing, I ended up on the Wikipedia page for the Chicxulub crater, the site of the impact (near the Yucatan Peninsula) that likely caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs (emphasis mine):
The impact would have caused some of the largest megatsunamis in Earth's history. A cloud of super-heated dust, ash and steam would have spread from the crater as the impactor burrowed underground in less than a second. Excavated material along with pieces of the impactor, ejected out of the atmosphere by the blast, would have been heated to incandescence upon re-entry, broiling the Earth's surface and possibly igniting wildfires; meanwhile, colossal shock waves would have triggered global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The emission of dust and particles could have covered the entire surface of the Earth for several years, possibly a decade, creating a harsh environment for living things. The shock production of carbon dioxide caused by the destruction of carbonate rocks would have led to a sudden greenhouse effect. Over a longer period, sunlight would have been blocked from reaching the surface of the earth by the dust particles in the atmosphere, cooling the surface dramatically. Photosynthesis by plants would also have been interrupted, affecting the entire food chain.
Criminy!
posted by jquinby at 7:53 AM on February 16, 2013


More like: Rochester, Tucson, Honolulu, Tulsa, Fresno, Bridgeport, Albuquerque, Omaha.

Please leave Fresno out of this. They have enough problems already.
posted by mule98J at 10:04 AM on February 16, 2013


In, oh, 2002 or 2003 there was a meteor that went over Illinois and Wisconsin. It was somewhere around 11:30pm or midnight and I was driving home from work.

Here you go, IndigoRain. I witnessed this one and the link is to my first comment in the MeFi thread about the Park Forest Meteorite.
posted by AstroGuy at 10:33 AM on February 16, 2013


From CosmicRayCharles' link:
"I went to see what that flash in the sky was about," he told AP. "And then the window glass shattered, bouncing back on me. My beard was cut open, but not deep. They patched me up, it’s OK now."
I like the idea of this real-life Chuck Norris figure, a man so tough that his beard took all the impact of a glass window shattered by a meteor that exploded with the force of a nuclear bomb.

On a more serious note, I will have to remember to avoid windows if there is ever a bright flash of light in the sky.
posted by compartment at 10:55 AM on February 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


The lesson I'm taking away from all this is: don't go running to look out the window when there's a bright flash in the sky.

Oh, and: in case of apocalypse, make sure the driver is Russian, because wow.
posted by cmyk at 11:05 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meteor (1979).
posted by mazola at 11:32 AM on February 16, 2013


I have to say, based on those videos, that "We have just been bombed" seems to be a perfectly reasonable conclusion to draw. I'd have crapped myself.
posted by KathrynT at 12:18 PM on February 16, 2013


The shock production of carbon dioxide caused by the destruction of carbonate rocks would have led to a sudden greenhouse effect.

Hmm, I guess we're just too impatient to wait for another Chicxulub.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2013




"On a more serious note, I will have to remember to avoid windows if there is ever a bright flash of light in the sky."

This is always a good idea.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:55 PM on February 16, 2013






I love the way new technology lets people leverage their intelligence in new and interesting ways. Even if this calculation could have been done twenty years ago, without ubiquitous cameras, it would have had to have been done by some official body with access to government data. Today, it's something that can be worked out by anyone on the Internet.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:20 AM on February 18, 2013


The Blast Heard 'Round The World
posted by jquinby at 9:30 AM on February 19, 2013


From now on, russian dashcams will become standard visual language for "real event" in movies and fake UFO videos.
posted by Tom-B at 4:28 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


From now on, russian dashcams will become standard visual language for "real event" in movies and fake UFO videos.

Wait until Google Glass or something similar takes off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 AM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]




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