Neil deGrasse Tyson on Russian Meteor

Friday, February 15, 2013

A heavy meteor shower rained down today on central Russia, sowing panic as the hurtling space debris smashed windows and injured dozens of stunned locals, officials said. (Yuri Kadobnov/Getty)

A meteor streaked across the sky in Russia today, reportedly causing hundreds of injuries. The meteor, which was captured on video, came as many were focused on another space object, 2012 DA14, which will fly within a few thousand miles of Earth today.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of Star Talk Radio. He explains the meteorite as weighing 10 tons — the size of a Central Park boulder — and traveling at 7 miles per second. The air blast that so many witnesses in south central Russia caught on video was a result of the meteorite vaporizing upon impact with Earth’s atmosphere.

While the mounting injuries and structural damages are truly unfortunate, Tyson points out that it could have been much worse: "These don’t have to be large to be devastating to their environment, primarily because they’re moving so fast." Of course, it was a meteorite — albeit a larger one — that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

These meteorites are in fact more common than most of us realize. They often occur over oceans and unpopulated land where they are never seen. "For all we know, this has happened often in the past decades in northern Canada, but the population density is so low,” says Tyson.


Neil deGrasse Tyson

Comments [3]

JIMMY DELL from Ohio

Have you never seen Mr. Tyson before? That's what he does, he's into it, he makes others into the event that normally wouldn't be. I think his presentations are understandable and well done.

Feb. 18 2013 07:57 AM
Ephesianstwo from holland mi USA

Wow our usual falling stars are marble-size
this was the size of a football field
Awesome power,Awesome God.

Feb. 15 2013 09:25 PM
Clay Checketts from Hope, RI

The sounds effects added to the Neil Degrasse Tyson interview were irritating and infantile. Is "The Takeaway" going to to follow The History Channel into intellectual oblivion?

Feb. 15 2013 03:08 PM

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