It’s been nearly two weeks since a meteor exploded over Russia, injuring around 1000 people, and damaging windows across as many as 4,000 buildings. After much analysis and research, Scientists in Colombia were able to figure out the meteor’s path through the Earth’s atmosphere, and use that to trace its orbit around the sun. Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin, researchers from the University of Antioquia in Medellin, used trignometry to track the meteor’s height, speed, and position as it made its way to Earth.
The researchers used both amateur footage as well as traffic cam videos to figure out the meteor’s path. They then used “Monte Carlo” methods to figure out the meteor’s orbiting behavior, and they came to the conclusion that the meteor belongs to an asteroid group known as the Apollo asteroids. The Apollo asteroids normally cross the Earth’s orbit. The scientists also stated, “Its elliptical, low inclination orbit, indicates a solar system origin, most likely from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.”
The meteor itself has been orbiting space for about 4.5 billion years before it met its end in Russia. It weighed nearly 10,000 tons and it is said to be a “chrondite”, which is one of the most common kinds of rocks near the Earth’s orbit. Scientists so far have gathered up hundreds of meteorite fragments thanks to volunteers who have been scouring the Chelyabinsk region. The biggest meteor fragment discovered weighed about 2.2 pounds.
It’s amazing what the scientists have discovered so far. They’ve renamed the Russian meteor to “Chebarkul meteorite”. They’ve also discovered a variety of strange minerals on the meteor. The most notable ones would be olivine, pyroxene, troilite, kamacite, and taenite. The meteorite is also made up of 10% iron. The scientists are still working long hours to analyze the meteorite. We’ll keep you posted if any new information comes up.
[via Popular Science]