The Blazing Orb of Chelyabinsk was named after the Chelyabinsk Oblast, a city in Russia. The Blazing Orb of Chelyabinsk, also known as the Chelyabinsk meteorite, entered the earth’s atmosphere through Russia on 15th February 2013.
The meteor-like object resembled a space rock, 20 meters wide that entered the earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 28 miles and a speed of 12 miles per second.
What caused the Blazing Orb of Chelyabinsk?
The blazing orb of Chelyabinsk is said to have been caused by a meteor airburst, and it was first seen on the Kopeyskoye highway of the city glowing with the intensity of 30 suns. The blast of the asteroid was stronger than a nuclear explosion, which made it detectable in all directions, and all stations to as far as Antarctica.
The meteor ultimately exploded in the air with the energy of about 500 kilotons of TNT and caused the largest airburst ever seen since the 1908 Tunguska event, which flattened a wide forested area and killed Siberian reindeers.
A small incoming asteroid caused the bright, hot explosion, and it carried 20 to 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. This makes the blazing orb of Chelyabinsk more impactful in terms of energy compared to the Hiroshima bombing of Japan.
It caused a natural disaster in an area with a population of over a million. The event took place in a period with modern consumer electronics, field sensors, and also laboratory techniques, all of which impacted the event.
The 2013 Chelyabinsk super bolide was extremely powerful.
Effects of the explosion of the blazing orb of Chelyabinsk
The Blazing Orb of Chelyabinsk, now classified as an LL5 ordinary chondrite, is said to have been stronger, and brighter than the sun. According to some scientists, the meteor glowed 30 times brighter.
This caused radiation, which left a lot of Russian residents with retinal and skin burns as a result of the heat. The radiation was very severe, and among its victims was a resident of Korkino whose facial skin was burned off. There were other victims of the event who suffered from minor skin burns and glass cuts. This event was recorded using modern technology.
After the descent of the Chelyabinsk meteor, the shockwaves that came with it caused a lot of damage to approximately 7200 buildings in the area, including a Zinc factory whose walls were collapsed, and windows were shattered.
The Blazing Orb of Chelyabinsk led to many injuries, and a total of 1200 people were hospitalized, mostly as a result of the glass and debris that was flying around. The incident did not lead to any loss of lives; however, despite the tremendous effect it had on the residents of the Ural region, the injuries were not fatal.
The hypersonic meteor caused a powerful shockwave as it entered the earth’s atmosphere, which knocked a lot of people off their feet and caused a lot of property destruction. As stated earlier, the speed at which the meteor traveled was faster than the speed of sound waves, which created a powerful sonic boom that hit the populated area of the Urals region.
Videos that were taken at the scene displayed objects plummeting through the clear morning sky and erupting into huge fireballs that caused a lot of explosive sounds.
There were also vapor trails that were seen many miles away from the scene of the incident. Residents explained the incident in terms of a big explosion that was followed by a series of small explosions, which the residents initially thought was a plane crash.
Despite the Chelyabinsk authorities declaring that radiation levels in the area were normal, evacuations were still done in some institutions. The explosion led to the closure of many schools and universities in the region, and students and staff were sent home early for protection.
Despite the intensity of the Chelyabinsk meteor explosion, it did not produce as much a blast as the Tunguska meteor of Siberia. The meteor of Chelyabinsk was a smaller explosion compared to the Tunguska one, but the dust that resulted from the explosion stayed in the atmosphere for months.
The aftermath of the 2013 Chelyabinsk explosion
Like any other phenomenon, the blazing orb of Chelyabinsk led to a lot of international attention and research. This event gained a lot of popularity because of the unpredictability of the whole incident.
The meteor might have brought some destruction to the city of Chelyabinsk Oblast, but the primary concern of the residents of this city, however, is what the meteor might have brought from space when it landed on earth.
After the incident, there were a lot of scientists and researchers who went to Russia to study the meteor and the effect it had on the Chelyabinsk region of Russia.
The international team of researchers who were led by Olga Popova aimed to analyze the extent of the destruction caused by the occurrence and to understand the circumstances that resulted in the event.
The scientists used magnetic imaging to analyze the incident and to identify the large meteorite that was buried on the lake floor.
NASA satellites were also at the forefront when the situation was being analyzed and contained. After the Chelyabinsk event, NASA established a Planetary Defence Coordination Office whose responsibility is to take data from NASA’s Near-Earth Object observations program and to detect any imminent threats to the United States.
These concerns were fueled by an incident that happened a few weeks after the orb of the Chelyabinsk incident. There was a phenomenon that is explained as an almost impossible phenomenon in Russia.
There was a giant, bright orb that was seen hovering over the sky at night, and before this, there was an eerie, glowing fog that covered a part of the city.
The dust formation and fragmentation started around eighty-three kilometers, and accelerated greatly, leaving a thermally emitting debris cloud.
Within hours of a visual sighting, residents and schoolchildren found meteorite fragments left after the incident, mostly in snowdrifts on the western areas of Chelyabinsk.
A few hours after the meteorite landed, a 20-foot hole was discovered on the frozen surface of Lake Chebarkul. This lake is located in the Russian Ural Mountains, and more than 50 samples were collected around the depression on the same day.
These incidents have led to growing concern as to whether the city has faced some form of space invasion, or if the events are totally unrelated.
There have been speculations as to what may have caused the blazing orb of Chelyabinsk to fall in Russia at that specific time. The leader of Russia’s Liberal Democrat Party, for instance, said that the incident was a test of new American weapons and not a meteorite as speculated.
There were rumors that the meteorite might have been engaged by the local air defense units and later blown apart at a high altitude.
There were also thoughts that the Chelyabinsk bolide was part of the 1999 NC43 asteroid. Still, the claim was disregarded later because the orbit, and the mineral composition of the two objects differed.
A study in the Monthly Notices of April 2015 of the Royal Astronomical Society suggested that the Chelyabinsk meteor is a part of the 2014 UR116 asteroid. However, there has been no official confirmation yet of the military involvement or any alien invasion relating to the explosion. Research is, however, still being done to understand the incident more and to establish what exactly caused it.