Meteor Hits, Asteroid Comes Close
2/15/2013 (Updated 11:05:09 PM)Nearly 1000 people were hurt Friday when a 10 ton meteor exploded when it entered the Earth's atmosphere.
"It built up a pressure and exploded about 30 miles in the atmosphere and sent out a shock wave just like an atomic bomb would," says Roy Williams of the Kopernik Observatory and Science Center.
While 20,000 emergency workers set out to access the damage in rural Russia, astronomers around the world were preparing for another historical astronomical event--an asteroid coming within 17,000 miles of the Earth.
"Actually coming inside the area where many satellites and GPS satellites are located--within their orbit," says Andrew Deskur, executive director of the Kopernik Observatory and Science Center.
Astronomers say they had been monitoring the asteroid.
"We've know about the asteroid DA-14 for well over a year and had been charting it's case and felt very confident that it was going to miss us," says Deskur.
Astronomers say the two events are completely unrelated . The fact that they on the happened same day is extremely rare.
"The asteroid was coming up from the South Pole. The trajectory of the meteor was coming East to West, over Russia. So, the two are really coming from two different parts of space," says Deskur.
Friday's events brought a crowd to the Kopernik Observatories "Winter Skies" night, getting all eyes on the skies.
"I thought it was interesting, said David Bremer, an intern at the observatory. "It's like there are two completely unrelated events, yet they happened within 12 or so hours of each other.
"It was fast, it was something I'd never scene before, and that close," said Gary Garnnis.
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