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Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Hundreds Injured 409

New submitter dovf writes "The Bad Astronomer analyzes incoming reports about the apparent meteoric fireball over Russia: 'Apparently, at about 09:30 local time, a very big meteor burned up over Chelyabinsk, a city in Russia just east of the Ural mountains, and about 1500 kilometers east of Moscow. The fireball was incredibly bright, rivaling the Sun! There was a pretty big sonic boom from the fireball, which set off car alarms and shattered windows. I'm seeing some reports of many people injured (by shattered glass blown out by the shock wave). I'm also seeing reports that some pieces have fallen to the ground, but again as I write this those are unconfirmed." This is the best summary I've found so far, and links to lots of videos and images. He also clarifies something I've been wondering about: 'This is almost certainly unrelated to the asteroid 2012 DA14 that will pass on Friday.'"

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Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Hundreds Injured

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  • by azalin ( 67640 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @08:46AM (#42908793)
    ... hows your space program going.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @08:47AM (#42908803)

    And another one will smash in to another country somewhere, and another, and another, then Paris gets wiped off the face of the Earth.

    Damn you Hollywoooooood!

  • by ACS Solver ( 1068112 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:10AM (#42908979)

    For all the problems of the Russian government, the emergency services are well-prepared, given the not uncommon occurence of various emergencies. The city has its own glass factory even, and they'd be able to replace most of the windows within a couple of days. Emergency repairs should restore much of the heating quickly, and very importantly, the hospitals are not being overwhelmed - the amount of people who need hospitalization is fairly low. The authorities apparently intend to fix windows today where it's most critical.

    Just to be clear, it is of course a serious situation, but by no serious damage I mean there is nothing like a need to evacuate hundreds of people to other cities for medical treatment, there are no deaths fortunately, and there are no buildings that have fully collapsed.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:13AM (#42909017)

    I think you'd have a better chance of trying to swat down a fighter plane with a magazine.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:19AM (#42909083)

    I'm not sure how it follows from discovering a solitary asteroid with a twenty hour lead time that we can "trivially" perform a sky sweep with enough comprehensiveness and detail to give a "several days" lead time. Yes, we could do it, but it's not at all obvious that it would be easy.

    Turning a single impactor with a known trajectory into an unknown number of impactors of unknown size and unknown trajectory does not strike me as a great response to detecting such an object either.

  • Re:Almost? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by azalin ( 67640 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:30AM (#42909191)
    Well how's a interceptor missile supposed to know the difference and why should it even care? A fast moving, unidentified object enters your airspace, why shouldn't you try to shoot it down, even automatically?
    A large scale response needs to be done through humans and should require several safety features. But a single automated air defense missile? Does it move faster than an airplane? Has it been announced? Then shoot it down.
  • Re:Almost? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fatphil ( 181876 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:32AM (#42909221) Homepage
    It sounds possible only because you were too lazy to read the BadAstronomer's write-up, the first link in the summary. It's millions of miles away from the asteroid, on a different orbit, and apparently coming from a different direction.
  • by azalin ( 67640 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:36AM (#42909243)
    Until a few of years ago the collapse of central heating in winter was rather commonplace. All the broken windows are a new feature, but I'd say Russians are very good at improvising and will cope with the situation.
  • Re:Almost? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @10:38AM (#42909909)

    No air defense missile is that fast. 10,000 MPH is mach 13, faster than any aircraft not including spacecraft such as rockets and the space shuttle (they need escape velocities of over 25,000 MPH/40,000 kph). The fastest SAM's (Surface to Air Missiles) are the Russian S-300 with a speed of nearly mach 6 while the US built MIM-104 Patriot has a speed of around mach 5. They are plenty fast to shoot down most any aircraft made today.

    Another thing to think about is this: The speed of the meteor was so fast that by the time any radar would have picked it up, it would have already hit the earth before a radar operator could even summon his commander to have a look. There is no way they could have scrambled SAM's for launch, the entry and impact happened in seconds.

  • Americans Panic!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:40AM (#42910793)
    Buy more guns.
  • Re:Almost? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:45AM (#42910865)

    I can understand "earth's south", but I am struggling with "earth's east"

  • Re:Almost? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @12:51PM (#42911735) Homepage Journal

    There are six links in the summary, Anonymous Moron

  • Re:ballistics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:50PM (#42914563)
    Trillion dollar military "defense" budget, and not a penny of that goes to defending us against something like this. Imagine if this had happened during the Cold War, the first assumption would have been a failed nuclear strike. For that matter, if it had blown up over Kashmir the Pakistani and Indian militaries would probably assume the same thing today.

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.