In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru). Please click the photo for larger image.
A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb on Friday morning.
Russian Academy of Sciences said that the meteor which was estimated about 10 tons entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph).
It broke into pieces about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above the ground.
The Russian Interior Ministry said that almost 1000 people were injured by the incident mostly by the flying glass caused by the sonic blast.
The science academy said that the meteor released several kilotons of energy above the region.
Richard Binzel, a professor of Planetary Science at MIT predicted that it was probably about 2 meters (6 ½ feet) across, about the size of an SUV.
Some meteorite fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Chebarkul, the Regional Interior Ministry office said.
The crash left an eight-meter (26-foot) wide crater in the ice.
A Russian policeman works near an ice hole, said by the Interior Ministry department for Chelyabinsk region to be the point of impact of a meteor seen earlier in the Urals region, at lake Chebarkul some 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Chelyabinsk February 15, 2013. Please click the photo for larger image.
Meteroids are small pieces of space debris, usually parts of comets or asteroids, that are on a collision course with the Earth.
They become meteors when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called meteorites.
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed after a meteorite exploded over in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Please click the photo for larger image.