sticks and stones

A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteorite shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones have stopped working.
According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted

A newly discovered asteroid about half the size of a football field will pass nearer to Earth than any other known object of its size on Friday…

25 Comments!

  1. Mumblix Grumph
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:46 am |

    How the hell does someone intercept a meteor?

    Have you seen some of the Russian video of the thing?

  2. mech
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:52 am |

    Did they deem it intercepted or do they actually have some technology to do it?

  3. Claire: rebellious pink pig with car keys - and a *cause*
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:20 am |

    POST Gr4F1X of Teh weeeeeeeeeeeeeeK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *CLAP*CALP*CLAP*

  4. Claire: rebellious pink pig with car keys - and a *cause*
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:21 am |

    PS: Global Waaaarming!!!!

  5. geezerette
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:31 am |

    Even tho he’s not suppose to be on my computer I have to laugh

  6. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:37 am |

    According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit …. A missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers, local newspaper … reported quoting a source in the military.

    Vodka was probably involved.
    This thing was moving at 30 km/sec in a crossing shot, but ICBM RVs enter the atmosphere at around 8 km/sec in a plunging shot (shotgunning terms). No way this thing was intercepted by an ABM.
    What they probably meant to say was that defense radar/IR sytems detected or tracked it.

    The regional Emergency Ministry denied that military air defenses were involved in the incident.

    Less vodka was involved.

    Regnum news agency quoted a military source who claimed that the vapor condensation trail of the meteorite speaks to the fact that the meteorite was intercepted by air defenses.

    That, uh, that doesn’t even make sense.
    One probably shouldn’t quote a Russian Army private coming out of the all-ranks club.

  7. geezerette
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:52 am |

    We can’t believe our own government how can we believe anything from Russia? Who knows all evil lurks in the heart of man?

  8. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:50 am |

    Re: the “intercept” explosion
    It looks sort’a like the Patriot/SCUD videos from the Gulf War, but it ain’t.
    At 30 km/sec in the atmosphere, a rock-iron meteor gets whatchacal hot. The light you see is due entirely to temperature. High-altitude (low-density) atmospheric heating doesn’t melt or vaporize the whole meteor, just the surface, so it ablates (small surface bits break off, glow, and vaporize); but at some point, the temperature gets really high (time and higher air density) and the heat penetrates further, so the structural integrity of a thick-enough layer of material fails. Any gases may also reach high pressure. At that point larger amounts of material come off, and all these particles are exposed to the heating air, so that stuff goes super-bright, too. The newly exposed chunk is increasingly thermally shocked, so it begins to fail quickly in a cascading exposure of material to critical atmospheric heating.
    You know, it goes *kablooie!*
    If it happens quickly enough, this may produce a noticeable atmospheric shock wave. Any unvaporized pieces (now too small and/or too slow to go kablooie) hit the ground as meteorites.

    Comet meteors probably fall apart sooner due to weaker structure, and they don’t produce iron chunks as meteorites.

    (What? Discovery Chanel.)

    Note: I did not use a meteorite-study-as-rockette-science pun … for good reason.

  9. rickn8or
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:59 am |

    Tell Pootie he’s wearing the hearing protectors upside down. Go on, I DARE ya!

  10. mech
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:04 am |

    Just imagine the incredibly small variations in time and space (in astronomical terms) that caused it to happen in Russia instead of DC.

  11. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:09 am |

    Aaaaand from a low-information Russian politician,
    it was a US weapons test.

  12. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:25 am |

    It WAS intercepted! By planet Earth! I diddent git my PhD in Nuclear Adverbs for nothing, ya know……

  13. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:13 am |

    So, answer me this, ColJ …
    Why ain’t there no craters on the dadburned Sun, then? Huh? Huh?
    (Whaat?!)

  14. accipiter NW
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    All I see are pics of two Tongue-guster Firebulls.

  15. ZZMike
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm |

    We can expect a horde of meteorite-hunters to descend on that part of Russia real soon now.

    Cottage industries will pop up all over Russia, selling authentic pieces of the meteorite.

    That double-contrail is sure interesting…..

    I notice that in the traffic photos, none of the cars slow down or stop when the bright flash hits. Seems that would be a normal reaction. (But then, I don’t know about Russian drivers.)

    From the videos, it look like it hit (if it got that far) at a grazing angle, which means that the debris path would be real long.

  16. geezerette
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

    He has a leeetle head.

  17. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

    Easy one, Doug. Because God hates Russians, an he knows 11 time zones is a easy target……..

  18. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

    RUSSIAN BLACK HUMOR: One of the most popular jokes was that the meteorite was supposed to fall on Dec. 21, 2012 – when many believed the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world – but was delivered late by Russia’s notoriously inefficient postal service.

  19. SondraK, Queen of my domain
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm |

    rickn8or … he didn’t want to muss the hair!

  20. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm |

    ColJ,
    Reminds me of the lightning-on-a-golf-course joke:
    If you want to be safe, hold up a 2-iron, ’cause not even God can hit a 2-iron.
    (What? Well that’s the Lee Trevino version.)

  21. Claire: rebellious pink pig with car keys - and a *cause*
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

    @DM6 — ChemTraaaailz !!!1!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    *runz in circles*

    @mech10 — yeah…. *sigh*

    @SK19 — ISWYDT bwaaahahahahahahhahaaaaaa!

  22. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:04 am |

    ^ Chem trails
    Dammit !

  23. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:09 am |

    Dang it!
    On looking at more footage, it’s clear that I neglected to comment on the coolest physicsology thing … the sonic boom!
    Man, I loved those as a kid, back in the days when they could fly supersonic up in Michigan.
    (What? Well, the AF prob’ly had a good window-replacement budget back then.)

  24. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:14 am |

    Christian, Muslim, Vodkan

  25. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

    rickn8or (9)
    I looked at that pic of Putin again; and it appears that someone behind him did, indeed, say that aloud.
    Perhaps that’s when the photography and his employment ceased.