Unrelated to the asteroid 2012 DA14, which will pass near the moon today, a meteorite burned up over central Russia very early this morning, shattering windows, and producing an an extremely loud sonic boom. So far, various reports indicate over 250 people hurt thanks to debris produced by the sonic boom, though there were no fatalities. The meteorite was traveling at 19 miles PER SECOND.
Check out the shocking videos below.
The sonic boom caused by the meteorite’s flight through our atmosphere, and the damage that caused on the ground:
The meteorite appears:
Phil “Bad Astronomy” Plait has more details on the meteorite, its impact, and more over at Slate.
One of the more fascinating bits of this event aside from, well, everything about it, is how uniform the reaction to the meteorite appearing is. In the above video, the meteorite appears to be coming right at the driver, yet they do not slow down or try and alter course away from it.
We’re sure we’re not the only ones who felt a primal surge of fear upon first seeing the meteorite appear. And yet... we’re also not sure we wouldn’t just continue on our own course if we were in the driver’s place, regardless of the consequences. Our momentum initially overrides the fear, then our curiosity would take the place of that momentum. And judging by the multiple videos now online of the meteorite’s appearance, its contrail, and the aftermath of its shockwave, we certainly don’t seem to be alone in that regard.
It’s distressing to think that we would rush towards the enormous, scary science fiction thing, should it appear in real life. But also... kind of validating.