Just one year ago, a 65-foot space rock exploded above Russia with the force of more than a dozen atomic bombs, damaging buildings. The falling glass injured hundreds of people, but luckily, nobody died. And now, several gold medalists at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are expected to receive pieces of the so-called Chelyabinsk meteor in remembrance.
For all the stargazers who watch the skies, it is almost a surprise that the explosion was completely unexpected because nobody spotted the incoming meteorite. That’s perhaps because watchers instead focused their telescopes upon a much larger object — the 40,000 ton 2012 DA14, a 98-foot diameter space rock that passed Earth closely on Feb. 15, 2013. It flew just 17,200 miles past Earth (closer even than our geosynchronous satellites), but, thankfully, quietly.
Let’s hope the same happens today as another object — the 2000 EM26 asteroid — lights up the sky. The space rock is about three football fields long and the Slooh Community for stargazers will be tracking the event with a webcast at 9 p.m. EST (United States time) today. Click here to see the Slooh Community broadcast.
In addition, there will be a live broadcast of the estimated 885-foot asteroid traveling at some 27,000 miles per hour on Space.com. The asteroid is expected to pass about 9 times the distance of the Moon. The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is roughly 238,000 miles.
Meanwhile, thoughts still echo to a year ago in Russia. As the Slooh Community writes: “While analysts continue to debate the significance of the event, many believe the residents of Chelyabinsk were extremely lucky to escape this celestial encounter with no loss of life.”