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What’s the Most Important Lesson of Today? Meteor, Meteoroid, Meteorite, Fireball?

Fri February 15 2013 6:31 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=59403
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Dash cam view of meteor (no audio).

The lesson today is not that hundreds of media outlets showed their ignorance by calling today’s meteor a meteor shower, or a meteorite; and sensationalized the same-day association with of a forecast asteroid fly-by. The lesson today is not that NASA immediately said there was no connection of Russia’s meteor with Asteroid 2012 DA14.

The most important lesson? If you see a streak of smoke, or a flash of light in the sky; don’t stand near windows, don’t stand next to anything that could collapse in a shock wave — a wall, a tree etc. And don’t stand under power lines.


These two Russian news anchors sensationalized the meteor/fireball sighting straight from Russia.


Structural damage at a large warehouse type building involved in distribution of zinc. No confirmation whether the building was damaged by direct impact or by a shock wave.

About 1,100 people were injured when the shock wave followed the visual observation of a meteor streaking across the sky. A large sonic boom crashed windows and even collapsed a roof at a factory and caused other structural damage. Most people were injured when they were hit by shattered pieces of glass.


Surveillance showing the meteor and structural damage as it occurred.

Let’s get definitions straight: A meteor is the glowing streak left in the wake of a meteoroid. A meteoroid is the falling piece of space debris — usually sand- to boulder-size. A fireball is an especially bright meteor. A meteorite is a solid piece of evidence on earth — a large enough piece that survives burning up in the earth’s atmosphere, and survives impact with the earth’s surface.

Meteor literally comes from the Greek word meteōros, meaning “suspended in the air”.

The frequency of fireball sightings increases by about 10-30% during the weeks of vernal equinox (Spring).


Smoke streak on video with the sound of sonic booms.


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