An asteroid the size of a minivan flew over California


25/04/2012

Scientists have determined that a bright object, which flew with a loud roar over Nevada and California on Sunday morning, was nothing more than a meteor enormous size.

This meteor, according to the researchers, was an asteroid that had entered the atmosphere of our planet with incredible speed - 15 kilometers per second, or 54,000 miles per hour. In flight, it gradually turned into a big fireball, providing that the amount of energy comparable to 3.8 kilotons of TNT. As a result, a meteor fell and crashed in the Sierra - Nevada, California. The head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, Bill Cooke regarded it as a "big event".

"I do not claim to be an explosion of 3.8 kilotons of power in California," Cook said in an interview with Spaceweather.com. "I say that the meteor had so much energy before it used up in the atmosphere. Our maps show the location of the collapse of the energy in the sky, and this decay is no way to reach the earth."

Cook went on to say that the meteor probably penetrated very deeply into the atmosphere, producing a strong buzz sound that scared residents of nearby areas. According to Reuters, in Carson City, Nevada, almost all vehicles in the city triggered car alarms.

After some rough calculations Cook was able to estimate the mass of a flying object - about 70 metric tons. This is a fairly large space meteorite. Through this assessment it is also able to calculate the approximate size of a meteor, "Assuming a density of 3 grams per cubic centimeter (the density of the solid rock), I figured out that the size of the meteor was about equal to 3.4 meters in diameter - in other words, the size of a minivan."

"Elizabeth Silber of the University of the West was looking for infrasonic signals from the effects of an explosion," said Cook. "Infrasound - very low frequency sound which can travel long distances. Strong signals were recorded at 2 stations, allowing the triangulation method to calculate the coordinates of the source of energy - 37.6N, 120.5W. Coordinates yellow flag marked on the map above."

It is noteworthy that the estimated size of the "California fireball" only a little more than the size of a three-meter asteroid that exploded over Sudan in 2008. Although in this case, the Sudanese meteorite singled out the energy of 1.1-2.1 kilotons of TNT.

"At this time, we were not able to accurately determine the appearance of the asteroid over California, but we know where he crashed. Perhaps it is - a good time to send a meteorite hunters to the mountain Sierra "concluded Cook.

Original: Physorg com


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