View from space: Russian meteor entering Earth’s atmosphere

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.

Large meteor of February 15, 2013 via NOAA

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.

February 18, 2013

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Deborah Byrd

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