Saturday, 16 February 2013

Cameras and meteorites

Extraordinary moving pictures of a meteorite racing across the Russian sky, shaking buildings and shattering glass, clearly demonstrate the communications revolution brought about by small portable cameras, especially mobile phones.
A decade or so ago, there would have been little chance of a camera being on hand to capture the event as it happened in a remote region nearly 1,000 miles from Moscow.  The meteorite, which burned up in the earth’s atmosphere, weighed about 10 tonnes.
More than 950 people were injured, mainly by flying glass, two of them seriously.  A much bigger heavenly body, about half the size of a football pitch, passed within 17,000 miles of earth the same day.  In astronomical terms, this qualifies as a fairly near miss.
In 1908, Russia got in the way of another asteroid or comet.  It came down in a sparsely populated region of Siberia, flattening trees over an area of 800 square miles.    And many believe that the dinosaurs were exterminated by an asteroid that hit the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico 65 million years ago.

* A cabbie writes, and recommends my book!   Thank you.   see p10

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