Sky fall: Meteorites strike Earth every few months - New York News

Sky fall: Meteorites strike Earth every few months

Posted: Updated:

FRANK JORDANS 

BERLIN (AP) — A meteor exploded in the sky above Russia on Friday, injuring hundreds of people as its fragments fell to the ground in the Ural Mountains. Here's a look at those objects in the sky:

What's the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?

Meteors are pieces of space rock, usually from larger comets or asteroids, which enter the Earth's atmosphere. Many are burned up by the heat of the atmosphere, but those that survive and strike the Earth are called meteorites. They often hit the ground at tremendous speed — up to 30,000 kilometers an hour (18,642 mph) according to the European Space Agency. That releases a huge amount of force.

How common are meteorite strikes?

Experts say smaller strikes happen five to 10 times a year. Large impacts such as the one Friday in Russia are rarer but still occur about every five years, according to Addi Bischoff, a mineralogist at the University of Muenster in Germany. Most of these strikes happen in uninhabited areas where they don't cause injuries to humans.

Is there any link to the asteroid fly-by taking place later Friday?

No, it's just cosmic coincidence, according to European Space Agency spokesman Bernhard Von Weyhe, who says Asteroid 2012DA14 is unrelated to the meteorite strike in Russia.

When was the last comparable meteorite strike?

In 2008, astronomers spotted a meteor heading toward Earth about 20 hours before it entered the atmosphere. It exploded over the vast African nation of Sudan, causing no known injuries. The largest known meteorite strike in recent times was the "Tunguska event" that hit Russia in 1908. Even that strike, which was far bigger than the one that happened over Russia on Friday, didn't injure anyone. Scientists believe that an even larger meteorite strike may have been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.

What can scientists learn from Friday's strike?

Bischoff says scientists and treasure hunters are probably already racing to find pieces of the meteorite. Some meteorites can be very valuable, selling for up to €500 ($670) per gram depending on their exact composition. Because meteors have remained largely unchanged for billions of years — unlike rocks on Earth that have been affected by erosion and volcanic outbreaks — scientists will study the fragments to learn more about the origins of matter.

What would happen if a meteorite hit a major city?

Scientists hope never to find out, but they're still trying to prepare for such an event. Von Weyhe, the European space agency spokesman, says experts from Europe, the United States and Russia are already discussing how to spot potential threats sooner and avert them.

"It's a global challenge and we need to find a solution together," he said. "But one thing's for sure, the Bruce Willis "Armageddon" method won't work."

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • GIRLTALK #takeover

    Angela Simmons reaches out

    Angela Simmons reaches out

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:09 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:09:20 GMT
    The Boys and Girls Club of Newark seems like the last place you'd expect to find the daughter of hip hop royalty. But when it comes to inspiring young girls, Angela Simmons, daughter of Rev. Run of Run DMC, believes in the old adage "each one, teach one." While it may seem like she had a silver spoon in her mouth, she knows the importance of giving back.
    The Boys and Girls Club of Newark seems like the last place you'd expect to find the daughter of hip hop royalty. But when it comes to inspiring young girls, Angela Simmons, daughter of Rev. Run of Run DMC, believes in the old adage "each one, teach one." While it may seem like she had a silver spoon in her mouth, she knows the importance of giving back.
  • NYSE rings bell for pediatric cancer awareness

    NYSE rings bell for pediatric cancer awareness

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:00:54 GMT
    On Wednesday, the world famous New York Stock Exchange closing bell rang in honor of pediatric cancer awareness. The Loccisano family says their beloved Frankie heard the bell all the way up in heaven. Frankie's grandmother says she is convinced of it. Camille Loccisano, Frankie's mother, is the executive director of Frankie's Mission, a nonprofit pediatric cancer foundation named in her son's honor.
    On Wednesday, the world famous New York Stock Exchange closing bell rang in honor of pediatric cancer awareness. The Loccisano family says their beloved Frankie heard the bell all the way up in heaven. Frankie's grandmother says she is convinced of it. Camille Loccisano, Frankie's mother, is the executive director of Frankie's Mission, a nonprofit pediatric cancer foundation named in her son's honor.
  • Metro-North safety practices faulted

    Metro-North safety practices faulted

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:07:45 GMT
    The Metro-North Railroad has sacrificed safety for on-time performance, according to a report released Wednesday by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority panel. The report echoes an assessment conducted this year by the Federal Railroad Administration, which investigated after a string of Metro-North accidents including a December 2013 derailment that killed four riders in the Bronx.
    The Metro-North Railroad has sacrificed safety for on-time performance, according to a report released Wednesday by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority panel. The report echoes an assessment conducted this year by the Federal Railroad Administration, which investigated after a string of Metro-North accidents including a December 2013 derailment that killed four riders in the Bronx.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices