News / Science & Technology

    NASA Maps Global Spread of Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume

    Still from animation about the meteor plume Model and satellite data show that four days after the bolide explosion, the faster, higher portion of the plume (red) had snaked its way entirely around the northern hemisphere and back to Chelyabinsk, Russia.
    Still from animation about the meteor plume Model and satellite data show that four days after the bolide explosion, the faster, higher portion of the plume (red) had snaked its way entirely around the northern hemisphere and back to Chelyabinsk, Russia.

    Related Articles

    Video NASA Maps Possible Europa Landing

    Jupiter’s ice-covered moon is one of the most likely places in the solar system to harbor extraterrestrial life, scientists say

    Video Sun on Verge of Massive Flip

    Switches in sun's magnetic field happen about once every 11 years, solar physicists say

    New Exoplanet Spotted with Earth-based Telescope

    Scientists say planet is 57 light years away and four times the size of Jupiter
    VOA News
    The U.S. space agency, NASA, has mapped the massive plume of dust and debris created by the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia last February with the force of 30 Hiroshima atom bombs.

    Measuring 18 meters across and weighing 11,000 metric tons, the meteor screamed into Earth's atmosphere on February 15 at 18.6 kilometers per second. Burning from the friction with Earth's thin air, the space rock exploded 23.3 kilometers above Chelyabinsk causing extensive damage in the region.

    The explosion also deposited hundreds of tons of dust in the stratosphere, allowing a NASA satellite to make unprecedented measurements of how the material formed a thin but cohesive and persistent stratospheric dust belt.

    "We wanted to know if our satellite could detect the meteor dust," said atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who led the meteor study. "Indeed, we saw the formation of a new dust belt in Earth's stratosphere, and achieved the first space-based observation of the long-term evolution of a bolide [meteor] plume."

    Combining satellite observations with atmospheric models, Gorkavyi and his colleagues created a model of how the plume from the explosion moved around the Northern Hemisphere.

    According to NASA, within hours of the impact,  an ozone mapping instrument on the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite detected the plume high in the atmosphere at an altitude of about 40 kilometers, quickly moving east at more than 300 kilometers per hour.

    Within a day the plume continued to flow east and had reached the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. As the plume moved, larger particles began to fall out of it, but smaller particles stayed airborne.

    By February 19, the faster, higher portion of the plume had snaked its way entirely around the Northern Hemisphere and back to Chelyabinsk. But the plume’s evolution continued. At least three months later, a detectable belt of dust persisted and could be seen around the planet.

    "With all of this technology, we can achieve a very different level of understanding of injection and evolution of meteor dust in atmosphere," Gorkavyi said. "Of course, the Chelyabinsk [meteor] is much smaller than the 'dinosaurs killer,' and this is good. We have the unique opportunity to safely study a potentially very dangerous type of event."

    The “dinosaurs killer” is scientific shorthand for the giant meteor or asteroid that hit the Earth about 65 million years ago, creating a dust cloud that many researchers say was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other species.

    NASA says that every day, about 30 metric tons of small material from space encounters Earth and is suspended high in the atmosphere.

    NASA’s Chelyabinsk meteor study is to be published in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

    Here's a short video on the spread of the plume:

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora