Another Russian meteor has been caught on camera, brightening the 2am sky across the Kola Peninsula and sparking a race to find debris, despite astronomers arguing it probably disintegrated before hitting the ground. The fireball comes a little over a year after a meteorite roughly the size of an SUV exploded over Russia and injured as many as 1,00 people.
This time around, astronomers at the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory say the rock likely didn’t reach the ground. Instead, it likely traveled “many tens of kilometers” up, and “ended in combustion” according to Sergei Smirnov of the observatory, local media reported.
Given that this latest rock was presumably larger than others, hence brighter in the night sky, there are some who still believe traces on the ground may still be in evidence. A hunt across the Apatisko-Kirovsky district is apparently in the works, though likely to bring down the attentions of law enforcement if any fragments are indeed discovered.
Concerns at the potential for damage from meteor strikes have prompted renewed calls for a more comprehensive monitoring program for space rocks, as well as research into how best to deflect or destroy those identified.
Meanwhile, over the weekend a group of former astronauts described it as “blind luck” that Earth had not been struck by a huge space rock. The Earth has in fact been affected by 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, they claim, most of which go without being reported publicly.
SOURCE The Moscow Times