A security camera was able to capture the exact moment when an asteroid hit Earth and caused a bright fireball over a town in Russia. The incident occurred right after the seventh anniversary of a violent meteor explosion in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.
Footage of the incident was posted and shared through the Russian social media site VK.com. According to the video's time and date stamp, the incident occurred at 4:30 in the morning on February 20.
Russia's Latest Fireball Incident
The large fireball appeared over the Segezhesky district of the Russian Republic of Karelia. As seen in the video, a bright blue spherical object suddenly appears in the dark sky and illuminates the town below. According to some eyewitnesses, the strange object streaked across the sky for about six seconds before completely disappearing, RT reported.
Other residents in the area reported hearing a loud bang right before the fireball disappeared. This suggests that the object that caused the fireball may have hit the ground. It is also possible that the loud noise was caused by the object's mid-air explosion.
Creating Fireball Events
Based on the video, the object that caused the fireball event was most likely an asteroid that became a meteor after entering Earth's atmosphere. Due to the intense heat and friction from the atmosphere, the object burnt up and turned into a bright fireball. Sometimes, depending on the composition and size of the space rock, fireball events could end up in airbursts.
"Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth's atmosphere, fragments larger than 1 millimetre have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above," the International Meteor Organization explained in a statement. "These bright meteors are what we call fireballs and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them."
Chelyabinsk Meteor Explosion
The arrival of the meteor last week marks the seventh anniversary of the meteor explosion that occurred in Russia. On February 15, 2013, a meteor that was about 66 feet wide turned into a fireball and exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk.
Due to its size and speed, the meteor's explosion release energy that's equivalent to about 26 to 33 atomic bombs. Although the explosion happened from an altitude of 97,000 feet, it was still powerful enough to damage over 7,000 buildings and injure about 1,500 people on the ground.