Meteor hits Earth outside Chelyabinsk city in Russia
A meteor which was about 17 metres across and weighed 10,000 tons impacted Earth nearly 30 to 50 km above the ground near Russian city Chelyabinsk. The meteor is also being said as the largest celestial body to have hit the Earth over the past hundred years. Shock waves from its explosion over Chelyabinsk injured 1,200 people and shattered doors and windows of houses, schools and hospitals.
As per NASA, the tiny asteroid released 300 to 500 kilotons of energy when it exploded, which is roughly equivalent to 20 atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This makes the meteor the largest since 1908 when a 50 meter wide meteor hit Tunguska in Siberia, levelling an estimated 80 million trees. The energy of the Tunguska blast is estimated to have been up to 50 megatons.
In response to this event scientists have called for the need to develop sophisticated meteor warning system. Presently, we can detect only 10% objects of the size of Chelyabinsk meteor in the solar system.
What is an asteroid?
- An asteroid is a small rock in orbit around a star – a bit like a tiny planet.
What are meteoroids?
- Small pieces of space debris such as parts of asteroids or parts of comets on a collision course with earth are called meteoroids.
What are meteors and meteorites?
- When meteoroids enter the earth’s atmosphere they are called meteors. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive and strike the surface of the earth they are called meteorites.
What is a comet?
- A comet is an object consisting of a central mass surrounded by dust and gas that may form a tail, orbiting a star, usually in an eccentric orbit.