Russia Meteorite, Asteroid Flyby Not Connected: Fleet Science Center

Force from fireball caused windows to shatter and injure up to 1,000 people

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    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of RussiaĆ­s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru)

    The meteorite that injured up to 1,000 in Russia is not connected to the 150-foot asteroid flyby  Friday according to astronomy experts in San Diego

    Lisa Will, resident astronomer at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park said the two events are not related.

    Not only will they happen approximately 16 hours apart but they are also traveling in different directions she said.

    The 10-ton meteor was going at least 33,000 mph when it streaked across the sky over the Ural Mountains the Russian Academy of Sciences reports.

    It shattered about 18 to 32 miles above the ground, releasing several kilotons of energy above the Ural Mountains officials said.

    “It looks really, really cool actually but I’d bet if you were there you’d probably be terrified,” Will said. “Especially since it was accompanied by a boom which sounds like a large explosion.”

    The air blast from the meteor formed a sonic boom. That force caused windows to shatter and injured up to 1,000 people.

    Will called the Russian fireball occurrence rare because it was witnessed by humans.

    The Earth gets hit by several tons of material every day but most of it really small and burns up in the atmosphere she told NBC 7 San Diego.

    She said a meteor the size of the fireball in Russia occurs possibly every couple of months but statistically ends up in the water so humans don’t see a lot of them.

    An asteroid flew  past Earth Friday afternoon, missing the planet by 17,150 miles. That distance is closer than many communication and weather satellites.

    Today’s event will help scientists learn how to better predict asteroids' trajectories.

    “Understanding how they reflect light which gives us better idea of how big they are when they come in which gives us a better idea of if they are a danger,” Will said.

    The asteroid was too small to see with the naked eye. The best viewing locations, with binoculars and telescopes, were in Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.

    As asteroids go, this was a shrimp. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles across.