2nd Anniversary of Chelyabinsk Meteorite Strike


Two years ago, the Earth caught a glimpse of disaster in the form of a 12,000-tonne meteorite that exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

ashboard camera records meteorite
A dashboard camera records the meteorite streaking through the sky over Chelyabinsk on 15 February, 2013. Photograph: AP

15 February 2015by Stuart Clark

It happened at 9:20am local time. A fireball appeared from out of the crystal clear blue sky over the southern Ural region in Russia. Rapidly increasing in brightness, it blazed brighter than the Sun.

The lightshow turned dangerous when the fireball abruptly exploded, injuring more than 1200 people. Some were burnt by the heat but most were cut as the shock wave from the explosion violently smashed windows. The city sustained 1 billion roubles (£10m) worth of damage.

It showed the world how serious the threat from meteorites and asteroids can be. Late last year, a group of campaigners headed by∫and film maker Grigorij Richters came together to propose Asteroid Awareness Day. The signatories on the campaign declaration include rock stars, astronauts and scientists from around the world. You will find my name signed on there too.

Taking place on 30 June, 2015, Asteroid Awareness Day has now opened a playbook for people to propose events wherever they live. This world-wide endeavour will represent the global nature of the problem.

On the anniversary, Richters has released an interactive video of the Chelyabinsk event, which lets people re-watch the historic impact in real time from different perspectives.

Re-live the historic Chelyabinsk meteorite strike

Stuart Clark is the author of The Day Without Yesterday (Polygon). Find him on Twitter @DrStuClark. More from Across the Universe blog.