Celestial coincidence ! Great impact but no doomsday.


Guess everybody got the asteroid and meteorite news. Coincidentally both visited the earth almost at the same time (15 Feb, 2013). The asteroid, dubbed as 2012 DA14, met a record flyby (closest pass, which is about 17,000 miles or 27,000 km) to the earth and just went off without causing any harm to our planet.

On the other hand, the meteorite, which entered into Chelyabinsk, central Russia with a supersonic speed (about 33,000 mph), created shock waves, broke several window glasses and injured more than 1000 people.

Apart from the coincidence of the two celestial events, Russia has also become a common place of celestial devastation on earth. Though DA14 missed, it is believed that 1908 Tunguska event happened due to a collision of earth with an asteroid of a similar size (though some scientists argue that it was a comet actually).

Tunguska catastrophe: fallen trees, photograph by  Leonid Kulik during his expedition in 1927 (courtesy: wikipedia).

Tunguska catastrophe: fallen trees, photograph by Leonid Kulik during his expedition in 1927 (courtesy: wikipedia).

It could be interesting to notice that the asteroid was discovered one year ago and its trajectory has been predicted beforehand, whereas the meteorite impact was unprecedented!

Now a quiz question:
What is the difference between a meteoroid/meteor and a meteorite?

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3 thoughts on “Celestial coincidence ! Great impact but no doomsday.

  1. No, a ‘meteoroid’ is a tiny asteroid or a part that comes out of an asteroid in the space. When it enters into the earth’s atmosphere it becomes a ‘meteor’ (widely called as a ‘shooting star’) and when it hits the ground (like what happened in Russia), it is called a meteorite. So though some of the part gets burnt in the atmosphere before a meteor becomes a meteorite, I think, size is not the concern.

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