Meteorite Hits Frozen Lake? And a Joke

February 15, 2013

The Guardian has a great – and large – collection of videos, photos, and reports from news media and just regular folks on the wild meteor event that occurred in Russia last night. Including this shot, with their caption:

A hole in the Chebarkul Lake made by meteor fragments on February 15, 2013 in Chelyabinsk, Russia. says it was the largest meteor event in 100 years. The blast: it was more powerful than that produced by the nuclear weapon detonated by North Korea the other day. (Wow!)

NASA says, based on very preliminary data, the meteor was almost 50 feet in circumfrence:

Based on the duration of the event, it was a very shallow entry. It was larger than the meteor over Indonesia on Oct. 8, 2009. Measurements are still coming in, and a more precise measure of the energy may be available later. The size of the object before hitting the atmosphere was about 49 feet (15 meters) and had a mass of about 7,000 tons.

The meteor, which was about one-third the diameter of asteroid 2012 DA14, was brighter than the sun. Its trail was visible for about 30 seconds, so it was a grazing impact through the atmosphere.

But here’s what we want to note:

A really lot of people naturally assumed that meteor was related to the asteroid mentioned above, which was due to pass quite close to Earth just a few hours after the meteor struck. But, from the Guardian link:

‘NASA has now posted a message saying “the trajectory of the Russian meteor was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object.”’

So let us get this straight: This was a completely unrelated meteor, the size of which hasn’t been seen in ages, that just happened to appear just hours before an enormous asteroid was making one of the closest huge-asteroid passes in ages?!

What are the odds against such a thing occurring? They’ve got to be astronomical!

Editor’s Note: We didn’t say it was a good joke…