Putin riding a meteorite. An anonymous image widely circulated online.
Early this morning, high above the city of Chelyabinsk, a meteorite burst through the atmosphere and possibly crashed into the Earth. At the current moment, Russian authorities are still searching [ru] for where the meteorite may have landed, but what’s certain is that it caused several sonic booms that shattered windows and other items as it fell. By the evening, Chelyabinsk Oblast officials reported [ru] almost a thousand people injured, mostly from broken glass, including 204 children.
Scores of amateur videos have flooded YouTube. Many clips feature the crash’s immediate aftermath, namely the trail of thick smoke left hanging in the sky. Because many Russians operate dashboard cameras in their cars (mainly for insurance purposes), there is also a massive supply of live footage of the meteorite falling. Earlier today, popular photoblogger Ilya Varlamov posted [ru] a large collection of such videos to his LiveJournal blog.
Despite the property damage and injuries resulting from today’s disaster, RuNet users have been more eager than ever to crack jokes and spread memes. While comic relief is a natural response to any tragedy, the fact that the meteorite landed in Chelyabinsk carries a certain readymade humor for Russians, given that the city is known, celebrated, and mocked for being a particularly harsh and poor corner of the country. The Chelyabinsk jokes [ru] are a sovereign kingdom in the world of Russian humor—enshrined in the segue to the Ivan Dulin segment of the television show Nasha Russia [ru]. One example of these jokes would be: “the Chelyabinsk subway is so tough, it travels underground without tunnels.”
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Meteori: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about debris from space that survives impact with the ground. For other uses of “Meteor” and “Meteors”, see Meteor (disambiguation). For popular applications, see Falling star. For the fictional superhero in the Marvel Comics universe, see Meteorite (comics).
Willamette Meteorite discovered in the U.S. state of Oregon
A meteorite is a meteoroid (a solid piece of debris from such sources as asteroids or comets) originating in outer space that survives impact with the Earth’s surface. A meteorite’s size can range from small to extremely large. Most meteorites derive from small astronomical objects called meteoroids, but they are also sometimes produced by impacts of asteroids. When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere, frictional, pressure, and chemical interactions with the atmospheric gasses cause the body to heat up and emit light, thus forming a fireball, also known as a meteor or shooting/falling star. The term bolide refers to either an extraterrestrial body that collides with the Earth, or to an exceptionally bright, fireball-like meteor regardless of whether it ultimately impacts the surface.
More generally, a meteorite on the surface of any celestial body is a natural object that has come from elsewhere in space. Meteorites have been found on the Moon and Mars. Meteorites that are recovered after being observed as they transited the atmosphere or impacted the Earth are called falls. All other meteorites are known as finds. As of February 2010, there are approximately 1,086 witnessed falls having specimens in the world’s collections. In contrast, there are over 38,660 well-documented meteorite finds.
Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and, stony-iron meteorites contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material. Modern classification schemes divide meteorites into groups according to their structure, chemical and isotopic composition and mineralogy. Meteorites smaller than 2mm are classified as micrometeorites.
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