Feb. 15, 2013 Preliminary information indicates that a meteor in Chelyabinsk, Russia, is not related to asteroid 2012 DA14, which is flying by Earth safely today.
The Russia meteor is the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia. The meteor entered the atmosphere at about 40,000 mph (18 kilometers per second). The impact time was 7:20:26 p.m. PST, or 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 (3:20:26 UTC on Feb. 15), and the energy released by the impact was in the hundreds of kilotons.
Based on the duration of the event, it was a very shallow entry. It was larger than the meteor over Indonesia on Oct. 8, 2009. Measurements are still coming in, and a more precise measure of the energy may be available later. The size of the object before hitting the atmosphere was about 49 feet (15 meters) and had a mass of about 7,000 tons.
The meteor, which was about one-third the diameter of asteroid 2012 DA14, was brighter than the sun. Its trail was visible for about 30 seconds, so it was a grazing impact through the atmosphere.
It is important to note that this estimate is preliminary, and may be revised as more data is obtained.
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