MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Imagine going about your daily business then seeing a blinding flash and glass fragments flying towards you.
That's what thousands of people in the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, experienced Friday, Feb. 15, when a meteor entered Earth's atmosphere injuring more than a thousand.
"If you were unlucky to be by a window or you heard something and were looking out and then it exploded and you got that shock wave, you might be injured that way," said University of Mobile professor Steven Carey.
He said the meteor was fairly small, about the size of a bus so it was undetectable.
It's estimated the meteor was traveling between 33,000 mph and 40,000 mph or 19 mps and weighed an estimated 7,000 tons.
Carey said we don't see many meteors hitting land because Earth's mostly covered by water but this one made quite an impact.
"Anywhere from 18-32 miles above the ground is where the explosion takes place," Carey said. "It blows up, it just explodes and when that happens you get a pressure wave or shock wave and that's what caused all the damage."
He said we actually get a lot of cosmic debris every day but it's very small dust size particles.
The last time we had a major situation like this was in the early 1900s, and it was a much larger object. It wiped out forests in Siberia for hundreds of square miles.
We don't normally think of the atmosphere as being hard. Carey, however, said but when a meteor enters the atmosphere, it's comparable to it hitting a brick wall.
So should you be concerned about something like this happening near you? Carey said no, it's a rare event and very unlikely.
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