The meteoroid that exploded over Russia February 15th caught the world unawares. With more than 1,000 people injured — mostly from flying glass as shock waves shattered windows — the bolide won’t be forgotten any time soon. It was the largest cosmic fender-bender Earth has had since the 1908 Tunguska event.
As we collect details on the event, S&T’s staff will update the information on this page. We also have an in-depth science feature in the June 2013 issue.
- A reconstruction of the orbit of the Chelyabinsk meteoroid by astronomers Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin. 21 February 2013.
- Another determination of the impactor's orbit by a trio of Czech astronomers. 23 February 2013.
- Initial estimates of the energy released by the event and, from that, estimates of the impactor's size and mass, by researchers at the University of Western Ontario 25 February 2013.
- Details about the object's trajectory, as reconstructed by NASA dynamicists Don Yeomans and Paul Chodas. 1 March 2013.
- Svend Buhl's summary of efforts to find pieces of the bolide and, with Karl Wimmer, a map showing the locations of 200 fragments found in the Russian countryside. 16 June 2013.
- Preliminary results and reactions to the event: “Lessons from the Russian Meteor Blast.” 15 February 2013.
- A look at what we knew a week after the event: “Info on Russian Meteor Pours In.” 21 February 2013. An abridged version of this blog appears in the news section of Sky & Telescope's May 2013 issue.
- Summary of the object's orbit and trajectory, as well as details about a mysterious hole in frozen Lake Cherbakul. "Update on Russia's Mega-Meteor." 6 March 2013.
- A meteorite hunter gives a colorful account of his experience with the Chelyabinsk meteor. "Chelyabinsk, Russia." 20 May 2013.
- Four months after the event, only about 200kg of the estimate 10,000-ton object (about 0.002%) has been recovered. "Chelyabinsk Mega-meteor: Status Report." 25 June 2013.
- Divers pull a half-ton (or more) meteorite from Lake Chebarkul. "Huge Meteorite Pulled from Russian Lake." 16 October 2013.
Incredible images and video have flooded the web. One thing you might have been wondering (as we were) about some of the videos: it looks like an awful lot of people were filming while driving. Turns out the drivers weren’t being as reckless as you might think — many Russian drivers install video cameras in their cars so that they have evidence of their actions if wrongly accused of traffic violations.
Originally several media outlets reported that the object's remains blew a 20-foot-wide hole in the frozen Lake Chebarkul, about 50 miles west of Chelyabinsk. At first, divers turned up no fragments, and with the flood of info online it was hard to know whether that was because the divers didn't know what to look for or because the hole wasn't actually related to the event. But after eight months, divers pulled what looks like a half-ton meteorite from the lake bottom.
Various slideshows, including one from the Wall Street Journal, showcase the damage. And a researcher at Georgia Tech has boosted the infrasound waves created when the object slammed into the atmosphere up to audible levels. (The signal was actually detected by sensors in Lilburn, Georgia, across the globe from the event.)
The Universidad de Antioquia has started a campaign to gather all the images and other witness recordings of the event at www.russianmeteor2013.org. The organizers hope that, by identifying the exact time and place of various images, they will be able to precisely reconstruct (and therefore better understand) what happened that cold Russian morning.
And if you missed it, here's a compilation of what the explosion was like: