A massive object, thought to be a 55 foot wide and 10,000 ton asteroid, exploded with the force of 500 kilotons of TNT over the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk on February 15th 2013. The explosion was about 30 times the power of the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945.
Thousands have been reported injured as the explosion blew out windows, knocked down building and spread destruction across Chelyabinsk and the surrounding area.
A twenty foot hole was found about 60 miles from Chelyabinsk where it is believed a chunk of the object landed.
NASA is claiming that 2012 DA14 was “a completely unrelated object,” based on data from the trajectory of the object, as it passed with in 17,200 miles of the Earth the same day.
Another object was seen 8 p.m. Friday night throughout the Bay Area in California. An astronomer with the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, said that it appears that the three objects seen Friday are unrelated.
The theory appears to have originated from the Znak newspaper, which quoted an anonymous “military source” who claimed that the object was intercepted by an air defense unit from Urzhumka near Chelyabinsk.
Traveling at roughly 17,640mph, Asteroid 2012 DA14 came within 17,200 miles of the Earth on February 15th, 2013. Estimated at 150 feet long and weighing 143,000 tons, DA14 would cause massive damage if it had struck the Earth, but not the type that the six mile object that is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs caused. Without doubt, a direct hit would have destroyed a large city and the dust and debri would impact the whole world.
Asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass closer to the Earth than the orbit of the Moon on November 8th, 2011. At over 1300 feet in length, this one would cause some serious damage if it struck the Earth. This is the nearest pass of a know space rock since 1976 and there won’t be another (fingers crossed) until 2028.
2005 YU55 will be able to be seen by a telescope with an aperture of 6 inches or larger, so plenty of data will be collected as it passes.
In early May, 2010, Object 2010 KQ was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. The object approached Earth from deep space, coming in almost to the distance of the Moon’s orbit, and is now headed away again.
Using the NASA-sponsored Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, astronomers have determined the object to be only a few meters in size and not an asteroid, but artificial in origin.
The object has not used any propulsion during the time it has been observed, but it is believed that it must have moved under its own power at some point, given its position and velocity.
The strange object was discovered on January 6 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) sky survey, which is funded by the United States Air Force and NASA and located in New Mexico.
Generally, comets follow elliptical orbits that get close in to the sun and grow long gaseous and dusty tails as ices sublimate off their solid cores. Asteroids are mostly in more circular orbits and with a high density of them living between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt.
Several other comet/asteroid hybrids have been reported over the years, but are still not completely understood by astronomers.
This previously unknown object may be on a high speed collision course with another object in the belt. Astronomers can see debris from previous impacts, but have never seen a collision as it happens.