Explosions in Chelyabinsk; Meteor Suspected (UPDATED)


LATE UPDATE: No immediate confirmed reports of casualties. See the AP for more information.

We’re getting all kinds of information about explosions in Chelyabinsk, the city in the Ural region of Russia that hosts Evgeny Kuznetsov’s KHL team. Information is sparse right now, and we do not want to speculate.

Windows have been blown out. The sky is streaked with contrails. Evacuations are underway.

Michael Garnett, goalie for Chelyabinsk, is okay:

We’ll update this post when we have actual facts. For now we just hope everyone is safe.

From Phil Plait of Slate

Phil Plait of Slate published this article on his Bad Astronomy blog on Monday:

On Friday, Feb. 15, the Earth is going to get a very close shave by an asteroid*. Called 2012 DA14, this 50 meter (160 foot) rock will pass just over 27,000 kilometers (17,000 miles) from the Earth’s surface. This is closer than our geosynchronous satellites, so this really is a close pass!

But, to be very clear: This asteroid poses no threat to us right now, nor in the foreseeable future. Friday’s miss is just that: a miss. And, in fact, this is a good thing, since any time an asteroid gets close (but misses), we learn a lot, including how to find them, how to track them, and even how to talk about them to the public.

Plait responds to the news:

Plait continues to dismiss a connection to DA14. See his feed for more.

More Tweets, Images, and Links

Here’s the host of Echo on Moscow radio, Alexander Plushev. He is relaying early information from major Russian news agencies.

RMNB translation: Ministry of Emergency Situations of Ural Region: meteorite rain over Chelyabinsk Region, no fire

Voice of Russia has an item about the Chelyabinsk Event

An emergency official tells Reuters:

It was definitely not a plane. We are gathering the bits of information and have no data on the casualties so far.

UPDATE: This is a photo of a zinc plant in Chelyabinsk. There is no possibility of a zinc leak right now.

Additional reporting by Ian Oland and Fedor Fedin.

  • Fedor
  • The music in the last video kinda takes away from the seriousness of the situation…

  • In all seriousness I hope everyone is okay

  • I wonder if there is any relation to the huge asteroid passing earth tomorrow?

  • Yv

    Maybe this is some front renegade pieces/meteorites of incoming asteroid flyby?? Max approach would be tomorrow noon and NASA has continuous video feed and blog about this event.

  • my girlfriend in chelyabinsk FB msg’d me that nothing is working but the internet, explosion woke her and popped her windows open (factory type) and can’t get any news on what is happening. initial reports said plane exploded in the sky.

  • Fedor

    People in small Kazakhstani village saw “flaming ball falling on earth” – ITAR-TASS news agency.

  • That is f-ing amazing.

  • Gil Vazquez

    it is!

  • joe

    why does the last video say December 31st 2012?

  • Gil Vazquez

    there has to be.

  • Sage Confucius

    I saw this happen once, on a smaller scale, when I was a child. My grandmother and I were coming home and suddenly BOOM! and a bright flash. The noise was from the sonic boom it made way up on the atmosphere. The light, of course, was the meteorite burning in the atmosphere. This was late 70’s in TX. It’s something you never forget.

  • jolslew

    the one video’s date stamp says December 31, 2012?

  • I don’t trust Moscow.

  • they forgot to set the camera clock

  • Man, I live in Europe, thank God I’m far away from Russia. I hope that this was just a big scare and nothing more

  • astro boy

    Phil PLAIT is the bad astronomer…

  • Thanks. Fixed.

  • Bariman43

    No, the upcoming asteroid is still 12 hours out and on an entirely different orbit.

  • Bariman43

    Nope, that one is still hours away and on a different orbit. Massive coincidence.

  • Moscow has nothing to do with it. It happened 1000 miles east from Moscow.

  • this video was filmed close to the explosion/impact http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0cFOIoITW4

  • I was referring to the Russian government.

  • Yv

    Those videos and others posted in Internet are so rare, to see actual sky event in real time. This, seemingly, thanks to new Russian drivers habit to place front and back-viewing cameras on their dashboard or windshield to document accidents. Some of the videos posted on YouTube of real accidents caught in real-time are bone-chilling.
    Because of known time and trajectory astronomers can estimate whether these meteorites are related to flyby asteroid.

  • bobsmith

    No, there certainly does not have to be. Chunks of rock hit the Earth all the goddamned time.

  • Yaroslav Lushnikov

    All Russians really hope that its aliens.

  • if it is a meteorite why NASA havent told people in russia there’s a coming meteorite and ready for impact? and also 2012DA is still far to earth’s expected flyby coincidence?

  • grahund

    I may have seen the same one. I was driving north on I-35 toward Dallas, near Waxahachie. It was late afternoon, early evening, 5:30pm or so.

  • If the direction of this object was precisely parallel to 2012DA, then the bodies may be members of a stream like a meteor shower.

  • Stingo

    Imagine the horror of dying in a meteorite strike like that while listening to that song. It chills my soul.

  • Crazy. Thanks for sharing, Tiffany.

  • Bariman43

    NASA can’t track meteoroids as small as this one. Yes, this was a small one.

  • It could possibly be a small fragment that got tied up with the small amount of gravity of the asteroid itself and dragged along in some kind of orbit around that? Or, maybe a small fragment that was influence by the same gravitational forces long ago which put the asteroid into its current orbit?

  • Because Russia doesn’t pay NASA, America does. They only warn USA

  • There seemed to be two smoke trails side-by-side. Perhaps this object was a binary pair or a contact-binary before hitting the atmosphere. Very interesting!

  • chris

    Trailing in front and behind this asteroid are smaller rocks that they cant see, so it explains why russia just got hit by a small meteorite ahead of the DA14. So i guess we have to expect more coming soon since DA14 is still 12 hours away. SAME ORBIT!

  • chris

    its not coincidence. they have the SAME ORBIT. Also, dont think that the DA14 is only 1 BIG ROCK. Trailing IN FRONT and BEHIND it are small rocks that they cannot see. So it explains why russia just got hit today. Da14 is still 12 hours away so expect more to come. I hope not!

  • D

    Holy Shit!!!!!!!

  • Deoxys.

  • Yep!

  • Jim

    The increasing prevalence of cameras is giving us everything we ever wanted to see and more. Tech bless us, every one.

  • If this was traveling along with the meteor they have been talking about in the news for the last week, I wonder what else might be?!?

  • NASA hitches a ride with Russia to the ISS… why didn’t Russia warn Russia?

  • Fedfed, in every video people seem to be saying something that sounds like “yeah but” one the guy says yeah but yeah, this one I saw first and thought he was saying yeah boy. Its too much of coincidence that so many videos have someone saying that, so I’m wondering if you have any idea what they are saying or is Flavor Flav that famous in Russia?

  • that was amazing!

  • Bream

    ЧЕЛЯБИНСК, Сегодня, 13:30 – ИА ЧелНовости.Ру. Сегодня утром ударной волной была разрушена часть стены здания склада концентратов Челябинского цинкового завода, однако на предприятии сообщают, что поводов для беспокойства у населения нет.

    15 февраля в сети Интернет появилась информация, что обломок метеорита упал на Челябинский цинковый завод. В реальности речь идет о разрушениях от ударной волны.
    «Все в порядке, завод продолжает работать в обычном режиме. Ударной волной была разрушена часть стены здания склада концентратов и выбита часть стекол в зданиях. Никакой опасности для города в плане экологии нет. Работники завода не пострадали. В настоящее время идет восстановление поврежденных конструкций», – сообщает начальник отдела по связям с общественностью Наталья Васильева.
    Cheliabinsk. Today 13:30 – IA chelnovosti.ru. In morning wave of explosion was destroyed a part of wall chemical warehouse Cheliabinsk Zink Machinery, but head of Machinery talk, thats all is ok and nothing extremally don’t happend,

    15 feb. in Internet was info, what part of meteor fall down on CZM. Really it was made by destruction wave of explosion. “All is normally. Machinery work in standart mode. Wave is destroyed a part of chem. warehouse wall and some windows glass. About ecology – for for city is not any dangerous. Workers of CHM is ok, all alive and fine. In that time we make rebuild destroyed constructions.” – talk pres.ssec. CZM Nataly Vasilieva.

    sorry for bad eng =)

  • and the aliens really hope that it’s not russia.

  • Skyve

    They are actually swearing, the “yeah but” sounding phrase is similar to “f**k!” in meaning.

  • Check out http://www.russiaslam.com/2013/stories/meteorites-explode-over-the-urals-netizens-react.html for English language translations of Russian netizen reactions to the meteorite story – and follow @russiaSLAM on twitter or like http://fb.me/russiaSLAM for updates throughout the day!

  • Ruscki

    why hasn’t anyone taken a picture from inside?????????/

  • Andrew

    this means “oh f***k”

  • Global warming was at fault here. Obviously.

  • There are some unconfirmed reports that the meteorite was intercepted by Russian air defence systems. If true, that may explain the second con trail.

  • It is believed that that is exactly what it is (apart from the leader of the Russian opposition, who claims this is a US weapons test)

  • Bream

    ЧЕЛЯБИНСК, Сегодня, 14:08 – ИА ЧелНовости.Ру. По состоянию на 12.00 мск 15.02.2013 г. объекты падения не обнаружены. Для проведения авиаразведки привлечено 8 воздушных судов.

    Проведена разведка 5 муниципальных районов и 3 городских округов Челябинской области, 2 районов и одного городского округа Свердловской области, 4 районов и одного городского округа Тюменской области, 6 районов и одного городского округа Курганской области.

    Зарегистрировано нарушение остекления в городе Челябинске и н.п. Завьяловское.

    В результате ударной волны произошло обрушение кровли склада «Цинкового завода». Погибших, пострадавших в результате обрушения нет. На месте происшествия проводятся АВР.
    Средства связи в исправном состоянии, за исключением обрыва оптического кабеля оператора «Мегафон». Планируемый срок восстановления – 15.00 15.02.2013 г.
    К работам по обследованию территории привлечено 20828 человек и 3982 единицы техники, в том числе от МЧС России – 18787 человек и 3563 единицы техники.
    Полиция делает все необходимое в рамках своих полномочий по установлению всех обстоятельств произошедшего, по обеспечению охраны общественного порядка, недопущения случаев мародерства. Сотрудники полиции призывают жителей региона соблюдать спокойствие.


    Cheliabinsk, today, 14:08 – IA chelnovosti.ru. On 12.00 Moscow time no was any finded falled-objects. For aviaresearching working 8 airplanes/heicopters. Research is ended in part of Cheliabinsk obl., part of Sverdlovsk obl., part of Tjumen obl. and part of Kurgan obl.
    Many destructions of window-glasses is in cityes: Cheliabinsk and Zavialovsk.
    And was happend (becoase was wave of explosion) destruction part of rooftop and wall of “CZM” warehouse. No deads, all workers is alive and fine.
    On CZM gone restoration works.
    A communications instruments is in normal work mode. but collision on optic.cable of “Megafon”-operator. Plan date of restore cable – 15.00 15 feb 2013.
    On researching of territoy working 20828 peoples and 3982 machines, in that numbers from MinistryAbnormalSituations of Russia – 18787 peoples and 3563 machines.
    Police do is all possibility for detected source of happend, for keeping citizens order, for broking of maroderity. Police ask all citezens don’t panic and keep calm.

    sorry for my bad eng =)

  • joeybegood

    Anyone who wants to understand why we have been seeing so many of these fireballs and meteorites in our skies in recent years, you should read a recently published book called “Comets and the Horns of Moses”. Check for it on Amazon sites.


  • Check the work of Thomas Van Flandern. A meteorite is never alone, it is made up of a swarm of other smaller meteorites orbiting it, since meteorites, asteroids and comets were formed from the remnants of the exploded Planet V which blew up 65 million years ago

  • what should boy do with girl? – ” yeahbut’ “

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say when the roof of your factory has been blown away, there just might be a possibility of a zinc leak. I’m just sayin’.

  • No, there absolutely does not accept to be. Chunks of bedrock hit the Earth all the goddamned time.

  • Those videos and others acquaint in Internet are so rare, to see
    absolute sky accident in absolute time. This, seemingly, acknowledgment
    to new Russian drivers addiction to abode foreground and back-viewing
    cameras on their dashboard or windshield to certificate accidents. Some
    of the videos acquaint on YouTube of absolute accidents bent in
    real-time are bone-chilling.Because of accepted time and aisle astronomers can appraisal whether these meteorites are accompanying to flyby asteroid.

  • Banana Man

    This, is Optimus Prime…

  • Bream

    may be… but peoples in Cheliabinsk don’t have instruments for knowing – so that is or not… If head of city say “no leak, all is ok”, – they have 1 var. – belive it and hoping that all be ok in really. with “Hi” from RU (not Cheliabinsk, other city)

  • So it begins.

  • insanelyapple

    Check youtube for “russian road rage” – you’ll understand purpose of these cameras

  • Grey

    Apparently this meteor is unrelated to the flyby. The big one, 2012 DA14, is supposed to be coming from the south and going north. This one came from the east. Also, this was about 16 hours too early, going way too fast, and is too small, apparently.

    (paying attention to that Bad Astronomer’s feed)

  • As a regular RMNB reader, I’m amused to see this link being one of the most common ones passed around the internet for coverage of this, including places like HackerNews that aren’t exactly hockey oriented. Good job with the scoop guys. 🙂

  • murilo

    it´s start world´s end, the NASA have warns all governs that other bigger meteor than this will fall down in the earth on next days. The pope Ratzinger do not accepted the fact and decline from his post of leader from catholic church to have die near his family.

  • Nicole

    Gawker is linking to you guys! You’ve really hit the big time, RMNB.

  • Fedor

    Also, camera records is a potential argument in court. So if you think police did something illegal, you better have the camera.

  • serpent

    Wonder why there appears to be two trails?


    That must have been way up there for that much of a sound delay. Would be nice to speak the dutch..I have no idea what these people are saying. I can only speculate and it isnt good.

  • Davidcarondc

    What the heck, does everyone in Russia have dash cams?

  • The police do.

  • Zinc is like Led, not Mercury. It won’t run down to the gutters.

  • In Russia, the rocks throw you.

  • And in seriousness, the astrophysics guy in me is completely geeked out. Great coverage.

  • Emily

    For insurance reasons, all the cars in Russia have dash cams – it’s not just the police. That’s why you’ll notice in some videos, people are driving around jamming out to the radio…

  • All those Russian dashcams really paid off. This was definitely not a ground strike but the object fragmented in the lower atmosphere. There were humungous sonic booms that shattered windows and set off car alarms, and apparently collapsed the roof of a factory. There will probably be lots of fragments recovered. With all this coverage there should be a pretty good orbit calculation for this object so we’ll know if it was related to DA14 or not. I tend to think not, too. But what’s with Russia collecting all the big meteor hits? Tunguska, Sikhote-Alin (1947 – not long before I was born – cue the creepy music) now this?

  • milky-kawaii.tumblr.com

    Apocalypse finally happening? Haha

  • Aaron

    Caps lock doesn’t make it true. It’s on a different orbit.

  • I feel like I have a completely unrealistic idea of what this asteroid looks like..thanks to Armageddon. Of course if I see Steve Buscemi riding a nuclear missle sometime soon I’m going to start asking questions.

  • Well, that’s germane. Or not.

  • EPIC

  • Fedor

    Guy who uploaded that (after he was told about the wrong datestamp) went all trolling: “For those who don’t get the datestamp, we have meteorites falling every day in Chelyabinsk.

  • Red

    Hope Kuzya is OK. Maybe this expedites his move to DC.

  • Monbolit

    пффф, мы в Челябинске и не такое видели.

  • we’re all at risk of this happening to us at any given time. That’s just part of the risk we take for living in a nutty universe like ours 🙂 After that, i think about the injured and hope they recover without too much issue. (From what i’m hearing, it’s mostly glass injuries.) Then one needs to change their mindset and ask…..any good minerals out of that sucker as payment for hitting my planet??? Don’t be throwing worthless meteors at us now…..

  • Russian government has nothing to do with this meteorite either.

  • Grow up

    Don´t be childish. This happens once in abt 100 years. Now in few hours the same. This IS the same stone pieces. Grow up!

  • growup

    Why you keep up this forum, because you sensor the most messages away???

  • Gawdzila

    Holy crap, that sh*t is NUTS

  • Gawdzila

    You don’t know if they have the same orbit AT ALL, and the fact that they arrived at Earth near the same time is not any proof that they do. They could have been headed in completely opposite directions, you’d have to compare the observed tragectories.

    This is akin to standing on a street corner with your eyes closed and then declaring that the next two cars that you hear must have been going in the same direction because you heard them go by at almost the same time.

  • joe

    This site is being blocked by some weird software my work firewall deems it ok the tab lloads and half way the tab disappears this has happend before with articals simular I think they are not telling us the whole story ad to keep us blind

  • Gawdzila

    I LOL’d

  • Gawdzila

    A more likely explanation is that the two smoke trails are the result of the meteor breaking up early in its trip through the atmosphere.

  • Nick

    Musta been some awesome insta pics

  • There was another dated 1970. I didn’t know they even had dash cams then…

  • And, in fact, there isn’t. The meteor travelled east-to-west some 16 hours ahead of the south-to-north-travelling 2012 DA14. Even if they were travelling in the same direction, at 15 km/s (the speed of the asteroid) they’d be 864,000 km apart.

  • The meteorite travelled east-to-west – that is, in the ecliptic – while DA14 passed south-to-north – 90º from the ecliptic. No, it’s not the same orbit. It’s not even the same plane of the universe.

  • People are already selling parts of the meteorite with worldwide shipping:

  • wow, I am just stunned. what are the chances of this happening over a city?

  • Глеб Г

    I was at home in the city of Chelyabinsk.

    I sat in front of the computer I hear people shout I looked out in a window I see a sphere flies

    and then flash I thought a nuclear bomb then opened a window and started looking and there cottons almost at all neighbors broke out at me not that didn’t break

    ears I stuffed up.

    After I solved if it is a bomb that it is necessary to take a place of a bearing beam.

    I read up to 40 and I grew stout that if a bomb I at most likely don’t live.

    I went outside and there an arch from a smoke. I started asking neighbors they tell the plane blew up.

    I went to the friend the friend speaks that a doomsday we went to CB bought for 3000 rubles of whisky and went to the Tractor stadium to look for a meteorite.

    Such feeling was that I watch the movie!

  • Глеб Г

    Our police are afraid more than bandits.

    The camera that if someone broke if what to post it in the Internet

  • O meteoro e´ o pedaço de um planeta que absorveu energia dos lazers disparados em uma guerra secreta .

  • Assistam ao video de Jack Kashner em “War Secret” uma nave dispara e a outra foge desses disparos…

  • As frotas que passa pela Russia, Estados Unidos, Europa.. sao naves que estao patrulhando e protegendo a terra .

  • Quando as naves param no ceu em sincronia, e´apenas um sinal de saudaçao para o povo e os animais da terra .

  • Meteor

    Meteorit Cheliabinsk- http://sistaminuten.eu

  • 1D lover

    almost 1000 people were injured 50 were hospitalized

  • Челябинск Russia.

    Кто проживает на дне океана? U.S.A.!

  • Челябинск Russia.

    Мая на твою страну климотичесое оружие применять!

  • Bariman43

    They DO NOT have the same orbit. DA14 went south to north, this went east to west. Vastly different orbits.

  • i too had a meteroit pice

    if any one is interested contact +919989697687