Last week on Thursday, various Russian cities were treated to a splendid visual of light show with the bursting of a bright meteor into a fireball over the landscape. What’s interesting is that the meteor remained undetected until its explosion. According to the fireball records of NASA, the explosion of the meteor occurred on 21st June at 01:16 UTC with a force of 2.8 kilotons. The explosion was observed over many Russian cities along with Lipetsk which is located at the south-east of Moscow.
The size of the explosion can be correlated to an asteroid which would measure almost 4 meters in diameter that implies the extremely small size of the asteroid. The explosion size could be considered trivial when compared to the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia in February 2013 which was almost 20 meters in diameter.
According to reports from the International Meteor Organization, the explosion of the asteroid has been reportedly witnessed from different cities including Lipetsk, Orel, Kursk and Voronzeh. The reports also stated that many of the witnesses that had seen the explosion reported a loud sonic boom. There is no clarity regarding the possibilities of any of the fragments reaching the surface of the Earth. However, it is imperative to observe that the friction of the asteroid with air led to the intense explosion as a result of which major part of the asteroid might have disintegrated prior to making a touchdown on Earth.
It is also interesting to observe that the asteroid was not detected till its contact with the Earth’s atmosphere and the frequent occurrence of such discrepancies in detection of near-Earth objects pave the way for concerns among the human population. Though the asteroid was not massive in size that could have potentially endangered human life on Earth, this incident calls for urgent measures for easy detection of interlopers from space. The positive aspect to be noted here is the initiatives of NASA for detection of potentially dangerous asteroids which could improve chances of warnings for asteroids in advance.