Meteor trail over Chelyabinsk

On February 15th a meteoroid exploded over Russia, creating this trail over Chelyabinsk and several other towns. The object detonated a couple of minutes before this photo was taken.

Uragan.TT / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Scientific Assessments


Other Tidbits

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 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:


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