The past few days have had many of us looking to the skies. On a day when asteroid 2012 DA14 was skimming past our little blue marble, many Russians got an early morning surprise as a meteor or small asteroid entered the atmosphere above the city of Chelyabinsk, blowing out windows and injuring hundreds from shockwaves as it passed. It turns out the universe wasn’t quite finished with the light show, as San Francisco residents got an impressive fireball of their own.
As reported by NBC News, the fireball appeared in the sky above San Francisco around 7:45 p.m. Friday night, the same days as the asteroid flyby and the meteor that came down in Russia. The bluish fireball wasn’t nearly as impressive as the Russian event, but thankfully it also wasn’t damaging. You can watch the local news story about the light show below.
As they did with the Russian meteor, astronomers say the San Francisco meteor unrelated to the much larger asteroid that passed Earth Friday afternoon. Astronomer Gerald McKeegan told the local NBC affiliate that it was instead a “sporadic meteor,” a regular occurrence that pelt Earth with as much as 15,000 tons of space debris per year.
The Russian meteor and the passing asteroid have once again stirred up discussion of how we as a species can stay alert us for any asteroids that could threaten the Earth, and what, if anything, can be done to deflect or destroy them. Some people already have some clever ideas about that, but hopefully we’ll have figured something out before the inevitable time when one of the big ones gets our planet in its crosshairs.
Also, if you haven’t seen any of the footage of the Russian event, for the love of god check it out. The footage is spectacular.