Over a hundred people are injured after a meteor or meteors reportedly exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia this morning. Although there are no confirmed deaths, the full extent of the situation is still being assessed.
But for those of you are worried, asteroid DA14 is still projected to miss Earth.
Chelyabinsk is a city of about a million people, located just to the east of the Ural Mountains. This morning, several people captured video of a bright trail streaking across the sky, followed by a saturatingly bright light. Although some people say that the lights were caused by a meteor shower, others believe that it was a single meteor that cut across the sky and exploded in the atmosphere.
Accounts of injuries vary, but it appears that anywhere between one hundred and four hundred people were injured, most of them by glass from shattering windows. (Reuters is saying 400.) The explosion shook the buildings, and it seems as though the 6000-square-foot roof of a Zinc Plant collapsed. Some people say that fragments of the meteor rained down on the town.
Although there is no definite connection between this meteor strike and the near approach of asteroid DA14, it is notable that they happened within a day of each other. DA14, which will pass below the orbits of geosynchronous satellites, is predicted, by all reliable sources, to miss the Earth entirely.
Here's another video, which shows just how loud the meteorite's sonic boom was — including the windows shattering right afterwards.
And here's CCTV footage of people in an office, hanging out and laughing — until the blast blows their doors outwards.
This video also shows off the loudness and intensity of the sonic boom.
Here's another video, from someone who's just driving along when the meteor zooms past, looking for a moment like it's heading straight for the car as it gets bigger and bigger. Insane!
This is a long view of the meteor streaking across the sky. Notice that it's pre-dawn in this video, which indicates that the meteor could be seen far away from the site of the explosion. It burns so brightly that it lights up the sky like daylight.
More details, from Reuters:
"I was standing at a bus stop, seeing off my girlfriend," said Andrei, a local resident who did not give his second name. "Then there was a flash and I saw a trail of smoke across the sky and felt a shockwave that smashed windows."
A wall was damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but there was no environmental threat, a plant spokeswoman said.
Such incidents are rare. A meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (1,250 miles) in Siberia in 1908, smashing windows as far as 200 km (125 miles) from the point of impact.
The Emergencies Ministry described Friday's events as a "meteor shower in the form of fireballs" and said background radiation levels were normal. It urged residents not to panic.