Friday, February 15, 2013

A close call in Indonesia, not Chelyabinsk...

We caught news coverage last night of the asteroid known as 2012 DA14 that was due to pass Earth near Indonesia at a mere 17,200 miles away today. At half the size of a football field, the asteroid could have flattened London if it struck. Of course the media was showing clips of the disaster film Deep Impact, and we assured Robert it was just a movie and that would not happen when 2012 DA14 passed.

He was so excited that he asked me to pull out the fragments of the Sikhote Alin meteorite that I acquired a few years ago. This well-known 23 ton iron meteorite struck eastern Siberia 66 years ago this week on February 12, 1947. I became intrigued by meteorites after reading about one that tore through the roof of a house in New Jersey in 2007.

Thinking the close-call with a huge asteroid was today’s big story, we were shocked by news of a 10 ton meteorite that struck the town of Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains. Video from dashboard cameras and mobile phones have been posted all over the internet. The sound of the crash is audible in this video, and the shock waves damaged hundreds of buildings and injured 1,000 people.

About those videos. NPR answers the question: Why did so many Russian drivers get such great meteor videos? Apparently Russian drivers constantly run dashboard cameras to capture evidence in the case of accidents involving pedestrians purposely getting hit.

Speaking of scams, let’s see how quickly remnants of the Chelyabinsk meteorite will be offered up for sale.