Meteor hits Russia and asteroid passes by on same day - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Meteor hits Russia and asteroid passes by on same day

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A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk  PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHELYABINSK REGIONAL BRANCH OF RUSSIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY / AP A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHELYABINSK REGIONAL BRANCH OF RUSSIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY / AP

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A fifty foot wide meteor entered Earth's atmosphere Friday with a burst of light and sound.

"An object moving that fast, almost fifty times the speed of sound," says Don Wheeler, "created a sonic boom and the meteor exploded in the atmosphere."

Wheeler is a science professor at Louisiana Delta Community College, and says the path of this meteor could have been much worse.

"So the people in Russia were very fortunate that it was coming in at this shallow angle as opposed to one coming straight in," says Wheeler.

More than 1,000 have been reported injured, most by falling debris in buildings and cut by glass from shattered windows. Wheeler says meteorites are not uncommon, and the ArkLaMiss has had two encounters since 2010. It's the size and timing of this meteor that sets it apart. It made impact on the same day an asteroid passed by.

"It came up from the south and passed over Indonesia," says Wheeler.

The asteroid posed no threat, and has been tracked for over a year. Wheeler says other asteroids have already been spotted much farther in the future, like the year 2029.

"Across Central America and then across the Atlantic Ocean and then make impact somewhere or pass somewhere near Africa," Wheeler describes as the path of another asteroid.

He says there's no need to worry, though. The projected path does not show the asteroid hitting earth, just another fly by and another reason to buy a telescope.

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