At 8:45am local time today, a large fireball appeared out of the clear blue sky above South-central Russia, dramatically lighting up the surrounding region before exploding with a tremendous bang as it fragmented near the city of Chelyabinsk, located east of the Ural mountains.
Multiple smaller explosions (between 5 and 6) followed the shock wave from the initial explosion as the bolide fragmented. Eyewitnesses across a wide area have also reported seeing burning objects fall to earth, suggesting that perhaps some of the later booms were sounds accompanying meteorite impacts as debris was scattered over a wide area. Witnesses described the initial explosion as being so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunderbolt had struck at exactly the same time. Once the immediate danger had passed, residents of Chelyabinsk reported "huge trails of smoke across the sky".
The Russian national space agency, Roscosmos, has confirmed that this space rock was one single body and that it entered the Earth's atmosphere at some 30km per second "at a low trajectory" and exploded at around 10 km above the city of Chelyabinsk, located east of the Ural mountains and some 150 km north of the Russia-Kazakhstan border. The city has a population of over a million people and is about 1500 km east of Moscow and some 150 km north of the Russia-Kazakhstan border.
this RT report, cell phones stopped working in the area. The fireball's electrical discharge might have produced an EMP-like (electromagnetic) effect on the area, shutting down communications, but video testimonies from local residents have been posted online all day, so some communications appear to be functioning fine. This report states that mobile connections in Chelyabinsk were shut down because a meteorite may have crashed into an antenna.
According to Russian Emergencies Ministry officials, meteorite fragments scattered by the exploding fireball hit three regions of Russia (Tyumen, Kurgan and Sverdlovsk), as well as neighboring Kazakhstan, where officials said they were searching for "two unidentified objects" that fell in the country's Aktobe region. The governor for the wider Chelyabinsk region initially claimed that "the meteorite" impacted a lake just beyond Chelyabinsk city, but this was probably just one of many meteorites that have been scattered in his region. The Russian military claims to have found three meteorite impact sites so far, including a six-metre diameter hole in the ice on Lake Chebarkul, 20 km west of Chelyabinsk. A second impact site was also found nearby while the third is said to be located 80 km to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust.
Widespread Panic, Damage
The event was captured from countless different angles by cameras placed in office buildings, in vehicles and on street corners. If you haven't already, browse through some of them on YouTube. You'll be left in no doubt of the significance of this event. Widespread structural damage was reported, including a zinc-processing factory that apparently took a direct hit from a meteorite. The explosions also set off car alarms and damaged interiors to hundreds of buildings. In fact, RT is now reporting that nearly 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk were damaged by the blast, including 34 medical facilities and 361 schools and kindergartens, while the total amount of window glass shattered is estimated at 100,000 square meters. Some 20,000 emergency response workers were mobilized to Chelyabinsk, where all universities, schools and kindergartens have been closed for two days as the city tries coming to terms with the shock.
"My heart is still beating 200 heartbeats a minute! ... I saw this terrible flash, it was red-orange! My eyes are still hurting," a witness from Chelyabinsk wrote on a local web forum. "I turned off all the lights, sat the kids on a couch and waited... Oh, my God, I thought the war had begun."There are a number of significant nuclear facilities in the region, where background radiation levels are being checked and have so far been reported as unchanged - which isn't saying much considering that Chelyabinsk has been declared the most polluted place on the planet as a result of the 1957 Mayak nuclear-fuel processing plant accident.
Latest reports from Moscow indicate that around 1,000 people have been injured, mainly residents of Chelyabinsk suffering cuts from shards of glass sent flying by the shock wave. Three people remain in critical condition. This report cites the Russian Emergencies Ministry saying that injuries resulted from meteorites from the multiple exploding fragments smashing windows in buildings, but I think that upon investigation they will find that it was the blast wave that caused structural damage, not the meteorites themselves (though certainly, a shower of meteorites also appears to have been strewn across a very wide area).
Image Gallery from Chelyabinsk
Raindrops Keep Falling...
Tatiana Bordovitsina, an astronomy professor at Tomsk State University in western Siberia, claimed that the meteorite could have been debris preceding the 2012 DA14 asteroid. But both NASA and the European Space Agency have stated that the two bodies are unrelated. The trajectory of the fireball in Russia was from north to south, whereas asteroid DA14's trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north.
here by 'The Science Guy', scientist Bill Nye, as a 'Tunguska-class sized asteroid'. If this fireball in Russia had been in that size range, Chelyabinsk would probably have been vaporized.
While 2012 DA14 was first observed this time last year and has been closely monitored since then, here we have another (probably smaller) body that arrives out of a clear blue sky with absolutely no warning - and on the same day as the asteroid we've been repeatedly told in the past few weeks will not impact! Is 'the universe' sending us a message? Although it is technologically possible to track, name and anticipate larger bodies, what about the thousands of smaller objects that can demonstrably cause widespread damage? If you think I'm being overly alarmist here, check out this list of fireball/meteor sightings in 2013 to date:
Wed, 13 Feb 2013: Enormous fireball seen from Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, 13 February 2013Notice that these reports are largely confined to Anglophone countries. There may be countless other reports from other parts of the world to take into account. Then we should factor in the many reports of 'unexplained booms' and 'unusual tremors'. Are we beginning to understand that this planet is currently undergoing an alarming increase in the number of space rocks it encounters? Here is the increase in fireball flux charted from 2005-2012 and based on reports sent to and verified by the American Meteor Society:
Sat, 09 Feb 2013: Blue fireball creates spectacular show over Ontario and Michigan, 9 February 2013
Sat, 09 Feb 2013: Emerald green fireball lights up mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, 09 February 2013
Fri, 08 Feb 2013: Bright fireball streaks across Nova Scotia sky, 8 February 2013
Thu, 07 Feb 2013: Fireball spotted over Fort Saint John, BC, Canada
Wed, 30 Jan 2013: Green fireball flashes across night sky in Lincolnshire, England
Wed, 30 Jan 2013: Fireball seen in the sky over Wales
Sun, 27 Jan 2013: 100 people report 'fireball' streaking across the Virginia sky Sunday night
Fri, 25 Jan 2013: Great ball of fire over Montreal, 25 January 2013
Fri, 25 Jan 2013: "Bright fireball" is a meteor in Northern Pennsylvania
Wed, 23 Jan 2013: Exploding meteorite? Confusion in Corbin, Kentucky after residents report loud, brief 'thunder roll' on sunny day
Mon, 21 Jan 2013: "Flash in the sky" above New Mexico was a meteor, 21 January 2013
Sun, 20 Jan 2013: Bright fireball a captivating sight across Kanto region of Japan
Thu, 17 Jan 2013: Fireball lights up early morning sky from Nevada to California, 17 January 2013
Tue, 15 Jan 2013: Green fireball flashes through Winnipeg sky
Sat, 11 Jan 2013: Multicolored fireball blazes over Northwestern U.S., 11 January 2013
Tue, 08 Jan 2013: Meteor sighting in skies over Moose Jaw, Canada
Sat, 05 Jan 2013: Multicolored fireball blazes over Northeastern U.S., 5 January 2013
Fri, 04 Jan 2013: Fireball and explosion in sky over Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Thu, 03 Jan 2013: Spectacular green fireball turns night into day above Northwestern Washington and Southwestern British Columbia, probably not a Quadrantid
Russian Vice Premier Dmitry Rogozin apparently wrote on Twitter that he will "offer suggestions to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on how to prevent or mitigate meteorite damage in future." In the meantime, Russia Today citing "unconfirmed reports that the meteorite was shot down by Russian air defenses" while an anonymous Russian military source told local newspaper Znak that the incoming space rock "was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk... A missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers." But this claim has been contradicted by a Roscosmos statement clarifying that the space rock was not being tracked: "Our ground facilities and, as I understand, those abroad too did not the monitor this celestial body," a Russian space agency spokesman said.
We've heard that kind of tall tale before. In mid-September last year the U.S. Army claimed that a widely observed meteor or comet fragment high above Southwestern U.S. states was the result of a "test" in which it had launched a Juno space rocket then shot it down with two Patriot missiles. The Urals regional center of the Emergency Ministry claimed it sent out a mass SMS warning residents about "a possible meteorite shower". However, locals said they either never received it, or got the message after the explosion had already occurred.
This is just more of the usual nonsense put out there in an effort to contain widespread panic. To be more precise, Big Brother doesn't mind if you panic, so long as you don't direct your anger towards 'him' for not being able to do a damn thing to protect you from space hazards. As Laura Knight-Jadczyk writes in her new book Comets and the Horns of Moses:
[...] given that human history appears to be defined by a succession of more or less corrupt ruling elites, and if we are to assume that such corruption (and its spread throughout society) is the mechanism by which a civilization attracts cosmic catastrophe, blaming and deposing the elite is a good solution. The problem, however, is that the underlying mechanism is not understood by the people, which means that they lack the knowledge that, if they are to prevent further destruction, they must, at all costs, prevent the establishment of any future corrupt elite.
In the end, the people and the elite both seek a paradigm that downplays cyclical catastrophes, but they do it for different reasons. The people want to relieve the enormous stress of a certain but unpredictable major catastrophe, while the elite want to remain in power. The compromise that serves both objectives is the illusion of an elite that is able to protect the people from any disaster. This illusion can take various forms: rituals to appease the gods, revision of history displaying a uniformitarian, uneventful evolution of humanity, and lots and lots of propaganda.
This lie works well during the periods of calm between two major catastrophes. However, history shows that when famines, earthquakes and plagues have struck and taken a heavy toll, when volcanoes erupt or comets blaze across the sky or meteor storms and weather anomalies increase, the illusion collapses, the raison d'être of the elites (i.e. protecting the people) collapses and the target has always and will ever be, ultimately, the ruling classes. And they know it. Thus, when such as Anaxagoras or Socrates or Critias mention these uncomfortable facts, they are silenced by ridicule and defamation, and even death.
The symptoms of an increased cometary activity are systematically covered up by the elites as man-made phenomena. The jet contrails due to higher concentrations of atmospheric cometary dust are depicted as 'chemtrails', sprayed by government agencies, the ever more frequent overhead cometary explosions are presented as missile tests, the weather changes due to a decreased solar activity triggered by the approaching Sun's companion and its accompanying cometary swarm is labeled 'anthropogenic global warming'.
By attributing the cause of those cosmically induced events to men, the elites maintain the illusion that they are in control.