Whew! The big meteor missed Tucson

2013-02-15T12:16:00Z 2013-02-20T22:19:39Z Whew! The big meteor missed TucsonTom Beal, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 15, 2013 12:16 pm  • 

Meteor 2012 DA14 streaked by Earth shortly before 12:30 p.m. Tucson time.

It's closest point, as accurately predicted by NASA, was 17,200 miles above the Earth's surface. It's on its way back into space.

But what about the meteor that did hit Earth in central Russia the day before? It injured as many as 1,000 people, according to preliminary reports.

According to NASA, the two are unconnected. NASA scientists, in a preliminary analysis, say the Russian meteor was traveling from north to south — the opposite of DA14's trajectory.

It's all just a big coincidence, but obviously a good reminder of the danger that space rocks hold. We know where most of the big ones are, but these smaller ones are hard to spot. DA14 wasn't known until last year and nobody spotted the one that exploded over Russia.

According to NASA:

The meteor is the largest meteor since the Tunguska event in 1908. Impact was at 3:20:26 UTC (9:20 a.m. local time, 10:20 p.m. Thursday on the east coast of the U.S.). The meteor was 15 meters in size prior to entering the Earth's atmosphere, larger than one over Indonesia on Oct. 8, 2009 and one-third of the size of asteroid 2012 DA14. It grazed across the atmosphere, where the meteor trail was visible for less than 30 seconds. The meteor was also brighter than the Sun.



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