February 15, 2013

"A meteor streaked through the sky and exploded Friday over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb..."

"... its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring more than 750 people. The spectacle deeply frightened thousands, with some elderly women declaring the world was coming to an end...."

No connection (of course) to the asteroid that we've been talking about which is having a close calls with Earth at a distance of 17,000 miles.

41 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The headlines are intentionally deceptive.

The meteor did not hit the ground but while passing overhead it caused a sonic boom and a shock wave which broke windows.

The injuries are glass cuts from standing near the windows that the sonic boom shattered.

John said...

Sounds like Day of the Triffids all over again. In that 50's novel (available via Ann's Amazaon portal on Kindle) there is a bright light in the sky, everyone looks, everyone winds up blind.

Chaos ensues.

If you see a bright light, don't look.

John Henry

rhhardin said...

It's not a blast, just a (sonic) shock wave.

John Burgess said...

@traditionalguy: Actually, it's not known yet whether it (or fragments of it) hit the ground. There are photos online of a big hole in a lake's ice cover that is believed to have resulted from a meteor strike.

But yes, the sonic boom(s) are what shattered the glass.

Tibore said...

That sounded like it was pretty freakin' spectacular. And scary. Even though it's obvious what it was in hindsight, when you hear an explosion that loud and a flash that bright (see the YouTube videos taken of the meteor), you don't normally think "meteor". You think "horrific jet explosion" or something.

Scott M said...

1 meteorite + 500 injured = 1 earth-shattering kaboom.

Marshal said...

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a nationalist leader noted for vehement statements, said “It’s not meteors falling. It’s the test of a new weapon by the Americans,”

Damn right! Plus we have a secret space beam that causes cancer and heart failure. Everyone you think died from natural causes? Guess again.

Salamandyr said...

More evidence that we need to deal with climate change.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The gods must be angry.

dmoelling said...

Chelyabinsk is the formerly top secret (unnamed and closed) city where Soviet Nuclear weapons development was done. It was unknown in the west (except to intelligence agencies) until Scientist/Dissident Zhores Mendeleev publicized large nuclear accidents in the region.

The Drill SGT said...

yeah, in the cold war, that would have scared the bejeezers out of millions (before the small detonation)

Fritz said...

It's not immediately obvious that the meteorite had nothing to do with today's fly by. Meteorites and asteroids shed pieces through a process called the YORP effect (the initials of the people who proposed it). So if 2012 DA14 (the fly by) shed this piece a while ago, it could have been following a similar orbit.

Scott M said...

The gods must be angry.

No, when the gods are angry at your team, your serve that landed on the line was out.

St. George said...

There's a very good new novel "The Last Policeman" about a New England cop investigating a murder in the last months before an extinction-level asteroid strike.

BoingBoing's been puffing it, so it must be good.

---

Also turns out that besides Tunguska there were equally huge strikes in Brazil in 1930 and British Guyana in 1935.

Have a nice day!

Marshal said...

Fritz said...
It's not immediately obvious that the meteorite had nothing to do with today's fly by. Meteorites and asteroids shed pieces through a process called the YORP effect (the initials of the people who proposed it). So if 2012 DA14 (the fly by) shed this piece a while ago, it could have been following a similar orbit


A Nasa spokesman was on the weather channel this morning explaining that this meteor came from an entirely different direction.

Nonapod said...

Wonder how far it was from the Tunguska site?

edutcher said...

Drs Stantz and Spengler are taking PKE readings as we speak.

Dr Venkman is off with some widow named Ludmilla.

Rusty said...

No connection (of course) to the asteroid that we've been talking about which is having a close calls with Earth at a distance of 17,000 miles.

Really?
I bet it does.

Tim said...

Over on the New York Times' web-page, the headline reads, "Meteor Slams into Urals, Global Warming Suspected Cause."

Ha ha - made you look!

But, you just know, don't you, that they REALLY do want to write that headline, don't you?

Bryan C said...

I'm not jumping to any conclusions until Barack Obama comes on TV and speaks The Judgement Of Science.

But if our atmosphere were cooler, with less deadly CO2, then maybe our ravaged atmosphere wouldn't make poor innocent little meteors explode like that. Just sayin'

Original Mike said...

Some people get all the luck.

Brew Master said...

Fritz, Rusty,

This meteor does NOT have anything to do with the one doing the flyby later. Their orbits are not similar in the least, having different inclinations as well as trajectories.

Please try to not think in terms of Hollywood when you consider the laws of physics. Using physics we can calculate orbits of objects for 100's of years, both in the future and the past.

These items are not at all related.

Nice Video Here

garage mahal said...

You fools go on believing this isn't an alien invasion. I've been preparing for this day my whole life.

Scott M said...

Using physics we can calculate orbits of objects for 100's of years, both in the future and the past.

Of course, the main problem being that damned butterfly.

Scott M said...

You fools go on believing this isn't an alien invasion. I've been preparing for this day my whole life.

They're not going to waste tons of resources invading us themselves. This "meteor" was packed wall to wall with the z-germ. Someone near the incident site can now be referred to as Patient Zero.

Why invade and fight a war when you can just let the reanimated dead of the target world consume your enemy?

Marshal said...

garage mahal said...
You fools go on believing this isn't an alien invasion. I've been preparing for this day my whole life.


We can all celebrate the end garage's fifth column mission and his rejoining his species.

Brew Master said...

Of course, the main problem being that damned butterfly.

Yeah, the butterfly limits us to 100's, instead of 1000's, or 100,000's.

Them pesky unknown unknowns always introduce errors.

bagoh20 said...

Well, it'a about time!

bagoh20 said...

Garage,

I hope we can put our differences behind us now, and join together in this fight for freedom from the invaders who wish to take over and control every aspect of our lives.

What do you mean the aliens offered you an EBT for your cooperation? You aren't really gonna fall for that again are you?

The Drill SGT said...

I blame AGW

virgil xenophon said...

Oh Oh, can PLANET X be far behind? Oh noes...we're doomed, DOOMED!

Astro said...

Makes you wonder, though, what might have happened if the meteor had come along about a half a day later and collided with the asteroid. If DA14 had been bumped even a small amount, it might have smacked into the Earth with truly devastating results.

In fact at the time I'm writing this, that remains a possibility. The closest approach of DA14 isn't until about 2:30 PM EST today and it's only now just past noon EST. Let's hope that meteor didn't have a sibling trailing along behind it.

William said...

Keynes remarked that in the long run we are all dead. A meteor strike that destroys all life on earth would not only validate Keynes' judgment but would demonstrate the wisdom of Obama's deficit spending. I think all here should be prepared to revise their opinions on Obama's economic policies if such a thing came to pass. I don't believe in politicizing meteor strikes and life extinction events, but fair is fair.

creeley23 said...

The clocks stopped at 1:17. A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions. He got up and went to the window. What is it? she said. He didnt answer. He went into the bathroom and threw the lightswitch but the power was already gone. A dull rose glow in the windowglass. He
dropped to one knee and raised the lever to stop the tub and then turned on both taps as far as they would go. She was standing in the doorway in her nightwear, clutching the jamb, cradling her belly in one hand.

What is it? she said. What is happening?

I dont know.

Why are you taking a bath?

I'm not.


This is Cormac McCarthy's laconic description of a large meteor strike which drives a planet-wide extinction event driven in his novel, "The Road."

The main character fills the tub because he realizes it is an emergency and they may be without water pressure for some time.

The book and the movie are pretty tough going -- as horrifying as anything Stephen King ever wrote.

Brew Master said...

Astro said...
Makes you wonder, though, what might have happened if the meteor had come along about a half a day later and collided with the asteroid. If DA14 had been bumped even a small amount, it might have smacked into the Earth with truly devastating results.


Orbital mechanics is not like billiards. A collision between this small rock that entered the atmosphere over Russia, and DA14 would have done nothing at all to alter the trajectory of DA14. The collision would produce some small debris pattern around DA14, but the vast majority of the debris would continue to travel in the exact same path, just a bit more scattered.

Small collisions really do very very little to change orbits. What would have a greater effect on the orbit of a large space rock is just something else nearby with sufficient mass to affect it gravitationally. This would also need to have occured long before it got anywhere close to the Earth in order to alter it's trajectory enough to make it a danger.

traditionalguy said...

Actually the Global Warming Hoax is a substitute for the Aliens Attacking in Space Ships hoax or The Giant Asteroid heading our way hoax.

Both of those two also gave instant authority over all assets to World Scientific Police and the Government that sends them to our rescue, but they are over way too soon, in a year at the most.

A hoax worth its salt needs to string out a hundred years or so before the doomsday event. Stealing takes time.

Cedarford said...

rhhardin said...
It's not a blast, just a (sonic) shock wave.

There is really no difference in physics as shock wave promugation occurs from objects as simple as a pebble in a pond suddenly displacing matter at 1.8 feet per second up to a Mark 80 thermonuclear bomb displacing several cubic miles of atmosphere at 917,144 miles per hour. Just magnitude of energy involved and displacement (detonation) velocity.

As is, the displacement velocity of a large meteors energy in shockwaves exceeds the displacement velocity of C4 or PETN explosive, which is in turn far less than a nukes displacement velocity.
But remember that KE=MV(2)..
So 10 tons of meteor shedding energy at 33,000 MPH greatly exceeds the explosive energy in 10 tons of C4. 800 times as much energy, thanks to that V-squared function of physics reality.

And people on the ground do not feel it as a jet's sonic boom shockwave but as a HE bomb shockwave coming from a distance. For the Russians, that is 8,000 or so tons of TNT equivalent along the meteor track being set off over the course of 10 seconds...

Serious shit indeed for the impacted Russians.

The Tunguska meteor is believed to have been 100 meters in diameter, weighing 13-14,000 times as much as this meteor and leveled 830 square miles when it detonated with the explosive force of 18-22 Megatons.

Bob said...

End of Days or maybe this comet was just a little off for a Mayan calendar collison. Given the physics its a good thing.

St. George said...

Walt Whitman took a "meteor procession" in 1860 as inspiration for his poem "Year of Meteors, 1859 '60." This rare event occurs when a meteor detonates at high altitude creating a stream of separate glowing projectiles.

The poem also references the execution of John Brown, whose terrorist acts had been the earthbound equivalents of explosions in heaven. Whitman had actually witnessed his execution, as did, of all people, Stonewall Jackson and John Wilkes Booth.

"O year all mottled with evil and good! year of forebodings! "

And we have two comets yet to come this year.

city said...

thanks for share...

Astro said...

Brew Master said... Orbital mechanics is not like billiards. A collision between this small rock that entered the atmosphere over Russia, and DA14 would have done nothing at all to alter the trajectory of DA14. The collision would produce some small debris pattern around DA14, but the vast majority of the debris would continue to travel in the exact same path, just a bit more scattered.

Yes, I know that. I had a course in celestial mechanics in grad school.
The latest estimates of the mass of the meteor show that, under just the right circumstances, if the faster-moving meteor had hit the asteroid less than a day prior to its closest approach, it had enough momentum to have nudged ithe asteroid into a orbit to collide with the Earth. Admittedly, an unlikely scenario, but not impossible.