This animated GIF image – created via a European weather satellite called METEOSTAT-10 – shows the view from space of the meteor that slammed into Earth’s atmosphere above Chelyabinsk, Russia on Friday, February 15, 2013.
The meteor entered Earth’s atmosphere around 9:20 a.m. local time, or 0320Z (or Zulu, same as UTC). NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory, which created this animated image, said:
The GIF consists of 8 separate images starting at 0300Z and proceeding in 15 minute increments until 0445Z, at which time the vapor trail blends into the reflected light of the morning sun. The images show the horizon taken at the farthest extent of the EUMETSAT METEOSAT-10 satellite’s high resolution visible channel, near latitude 55 north, longitude 61 west.
The METEOSAT-10 satellite, by the way, just took over from METEOSAT-9 in January, 2013. These satellites are operated by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). They provide operational weather and climate monitoring service over Europe and Africa.
These satellites are in geostationary orbits. In other words, they’re in circular orbits 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above the Earth’s equator. They move in the direction of Earth’s spin. These high-orbiting satellites are the sort that the much-larger asteroid 2012 DA14 – also near Earth on February 15, 2013 – flew beneath.
Bottom line: Animated GIF images show meteor that entered atmosphere above Russia on Friday, February 15, 2013.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.