Russian meteor strike and asteroid 'not connected' say Leicster Space Centre experts
Experts said yesterday's dramatic meteor strike in Russia was not linked to an asteroid which passed the Earth a few hours later.
Video footage of an 11-ton meteor streaking past the Russian city of Chelyabinsk turned into an internet sensation yesterday, after the space rock broke through the Earth's atmosphere and crashed into a lake. More than 500 people were injured by damage caused by the shock wave.
The meteor hit the stratosphere at about 33,000mph – three times the speed of a bullet – at about 9.20am (local time), before slowing and exploding into smaller pieces.
Just a few hours later, a 150ft asteroid, known as 2012DA14, came within a whisker of the Earth as it flew by the planet at a distance of 17,100-miles – closer than many communications and weather satellites.
However, the phenomena were not linked, experts have said.
Josh Barker, from the Near Earth Orbit Information Programme, based at the National Space Centre, in Leicester, said: "We're pretty certain that it isn't related because of the direction of travel.
"2012DA14 is travelling from south to north and any fragments would probably fall in the southern hemisphere.
"The Russian meteor's flightpath wasn't consistent with what we would expect if it was related to 2012DA14."
The last time an equivalent object to 2012DA14 hit the Earth was in 1908, when a 45 to 70 metre-wide meteorite levelled 80 million trees in an 830- square mile area in Siberia.