An asteroid exploded over Russia this week

Images and video of the daylight meteor seen over Russia on June 21. The small asteroid exploded in the air; fragments may have reached Earth. Plus … why are so many large meteors seen over Russia?

A bright meteor was seen in near daylight on June 21, 2018, over several Russian cities, including Lipetsk, which is located southeast of Moscow. The fast fireball produced an amazing smoke trail that remained visible during several minutes. NASA’s fireball records indicate the event occurred on June 21 at 01:16:20 UTC. Sensors detected that the space rock produced an explosion equivalent to 2.8 kilotons. That explosion size corresponds to the disintegration of a small asteroid of about 13 feet (4 meters) in diameter. That size is in contrast to the estimated 65-foot (20-meter) asteroid that exploded in the air over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013.

Infrasound sensor detectors registered the low frequencies produced by the explosion of the space rock as it entered Earth’s atmosphere. And some caught the meteor on dashboard cameras, as was the case, apparently, in the video at the top of this page by Alexander Dundin.

Although intense friction with the air would have caused most of the space rock to disintegrate, it is possible that small fragments may have reached Earth’s surface.

Location of Lipetsk, Russia, one of several cities over which the June 21 daylight meteor was seen. Image via World Atlas.

Why so many meteor events over Russia? Russia is the largest country in the world, thus its large territorial extension makes it the target with most probability for a space rock to hit, after the seas. About 70 percent of our planet’s surface is covered by water, which means that most meteorites do fall into the sea.

Science centers and museums around the world will celebrate Asteroid Day on June 30, an event to create awareness and educate our communities about asteroids.

Bright twilight meteor seen over several Russian cities on June 21, 2018. Image is a screen shot from the video above.

Twilight meteor over Russia, June 21, 2018.

Bottom line: Images and video of the 13-foot (4-meter) asteroid seen in near daylight on June 21, 2018, over various Russian cities. It exploded in the air, but some fragments may have reached the ground. Plus … why so many large meteors are seen over Russia.

Source: EarthSky

David Aragorn

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