RUSSIA METEORITE, ASTEROID FLYBY NOT CONNECTED, SAYS FLEET SCIENCE CENTER
The meteorite that injured up to 1,000 in Russia is not connected to the 150-foot asteroid expected to flyby Earth Friday afternoon according to astronomy experts in San Diego
The two events were not related according to Lisa Will, resident astronomer at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The 10-ton meteor was going at least 33,000 mph when it streaked across the sky over the Ural Mountains the Russian Academy of Sciences reports.
It shattered about 18 to 32 miles above the ground, releasing several kilotons of energy above the Ural Mountains officials said.
“It looks really, really cool actually but I’d bet if you were there you’d probably be terrified,” Will said. “Especially since it was accompanied by a boom which sounds like a large explosion.”
The air blast from the meteor formed a sonic boom. That force caused windows to shatter and injured up to 1,000 people.
Will called the Russian fireball occurrence rare because it was witnessed by humans.
The Earth gets hit by several tons of material every day but most of it really small and burns up in the atmosphere she told NBC 7 San Diego.
She said a meteor the size of the fireball in Russia occurs possibly every couple of months but statistically ends up in the water so humans don’t see a lot of them.
Later Friday, an asteroid is expected to fly past Earth, missing the planet by 17,150 miles. That distance is closer than many communication and weather satellites.
Watch Asteroid Live Stream at 2:00 p.m. PT
Today’s event will help scientists learn how to better predict asteroids' trajectories.
“Understanding how they reflect light which gives us better idea of how big they are when they come in which gives us a better idea of if they are a danger,” Will said.
The asteroid will be too small to see with the naked eye. The best viewing locations, with binoculars and telescopes, will be in Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.
As asteroids go, this is a shrimp. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles across.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego