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.
Michael Garnett, goalie for Chelyabinsk, is okay:
— Michael Garnett (@MichaelGarnett) February 15, 2013
We’ll update this post when we have actual facts. For now we just hope everyone is safe.
From Phil Plait of Slate
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:
I don’t *think* this meteor is related to #2012DA14; a solid 12+ hours ahead; DA14 is still pretty far out. Coincidence?
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) February 15, 2013
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Here’s the host of Echo on Moscow radio, Alexander Plushev. He is relaying early information from major Russian news agencies.
Над Челябинской областью прошел метеоритный дождь, пожара не последовало – МЧС уральского региона
— Plushev (@plushev) February 15, 2013
RMNB translation: Ministry of Emergency Situations of Ural Region: meteorite rain over Chelyabinsk Region, no fire
It was definitely not a plane. We are gathering the bits of information and have no data on the casualties so far.
— Александр Корецкий(@a_koretsky) February 15, 2013
— Денис (@Dokhrimovich) February 15, 2013
— Vladimir Pestov (@KozzyKoder) February 15, 2013
— Пися (@Pisya) February 15, 2013
Additional reporting by Ian Oland and Fedor Fedin.