There’s been much talk lately of asteroid DA14, the 50-meter-wide space rock that’s zipping past the Earth later today, but it turns out the universe had an early surprise opener in store for us. Early Friday morning what’s believed to be a meteorite arced through the sky above Russia, resulting in shattered windows, some astonishing video footage, and a whole lot of surprised Russians.
Russia’s Interior Ministry says that around 1,000 injuries have been reported, including 200 children. Thankfully, it sounds like most of the injuries are not serious. Most of the injuries reported in the Chelyabinsk region, some 950 miles east of Moscow. As many as 3,000 buildings have sustained damage, mostly from the shockwave as the meteor broke up during its entry through the atmosphere.
The meteor blazed through the morning sky around 9:20 a.m. local time. Understandably, early reports were contradictory and occasionally bonkers, with the expected rumors of UFOs and at least one report that the meteor had been “shot down” by Russian fighter planes. Expect that to be dissected thoroughly on the conspiracy theory forum of your choice.
Many have cited Russia’s history with damaging visitors from the final frontier. In 1908, the so-called “Tunguska event” saw an asteroid, meteor, or comet fragment enter the atmosphere and explode above Siberia, flattening trees for hundreds of miles in all directions. Thankfully this event wasn’t nearly as violent, especially since it came down over populated areas.
In this age where camera phones are ubiquitous, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that there are some truly amazing videos of the event. We’ve embedded some of the better videos below. In the meantime, if any Kryptonian babies were in that thing, let’s hope he’s raised by some kind-hearted Russian farmers.