February 15, 2013
A colossal meteor struck the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a giant shock wave that wounded more than 1,000 people. On the same day, an asteroid almost the size of a football pitch came within 27,000 km from Earth.
A meteor flared through the skies over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region early Friday, triggering an atomic bomb-sized shock wave that injured more than a thousand people, blew out windows and caused some Russians to fear the end of the world.
NASA said it was the largest reported fireball since the Tunguska event in 1908 — an asteroid explosion that flattened millions of trees over 820 square miles of remote Siberian forest.
Friday’s event was witnessed by throngs of Russians in Chelyabinsk, a city of 1.1 million in western Siberia. Multiple amateur videos posted online showed the meteor’s flaring arc stretching hundreds of miles across the sky. Other videos from the scene captured the sound of a loud boom, followed by a cacophony of car alarms. One video showed the hurried evacuation of an office building in Chelyabinsk.
“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were OK,” Chelyabinsk resident Sergey Hametov told The Associated Press. “We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound.”