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News blog:

2013 February 15 Chelyabinsk fireball

intro to paper

2013, November 29 - Today, our Research Article on Chelyabinsk appeared in print in Science. A perspective article was written by Clark Chapman (same issue, page 1051-1052). The full reference is:
Popova O. P., Jenniskens P., Emel'yanenko V., Kartashova A., Biryukov E., Khaibrakhmanov S., Shuvalov V., Rybnov Y., Dudorov A., Grokhovsky V. I., Badyukov D. D., Yin Q.-Z., Gural P. S., Albers J., Granvik M., Evers L. G., Kuiper J., Kharlamov V., Solovyov A., Rusakov Y. S., Korotkiy S., Serdyuk I., Korochantsev A. V., Larionov M. Y., Glazachev D., Mayer A. E., Gisler G., Gladkovsky S. V., Wimpenny J., Sanborn M. E., Yamakawa A., Verosub K., Rowland D. J., Roeske S., Botto N. W., Friedrich J. M., Zolensky M., Le L., Ross D., Ziegler K., Nakamura T., Ahn I., Lee J. I., Zhou Q., Li X.-H., Li Q.-L., Liu Y., Tang G.-Q., Hiroi T., Sears D., Weinstein I. A., Vokhmintsev A. S., Ishchenko A. V., Schmitt-Kopplin P., Hertkorn N., Nagao K., Haba M. K., Komatsu M., and Mikouchi T. (The Chelyabinsk Airburst Consortium), 2013. Chelyabinsk Airburst and Damage Assessment. Science Vol. 342, pp. 1069-1073.
[Research Article]
[Supporting Online Materials Document]

Map of glass damage in Chelyabinsk Oblast
Map of glass damage in Chelyabinsk Oblast. Fireball moved from right to left. Dots are villages and towns in the area, marked red or orange when glass damage occurred. Yellow dots are the locations where meteorites were recovered. Gray area shows predictions of overpressure from asteroid impact models. From: Popova et al. Science Science Vol. 42 (2013).

2013, November 6 - Science published today a report on the Chelyabinsk meteoroid impact that describes the results from a Russian Academy of Sciences fact finding mission in the weeks after the impact, led by Dr. Olga Popova of the Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres of the RAS and Vacheslav Emel'yanenko of the Institute of Astronomy of the RAS in Moscow. NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens participated in this effort as outside expert and coordinated the study of the recovered meteorites. Now, the report led by Popova and Jenniskens, with contributions by 57 other researchers from nine countries, gives a detailed picture of all aspects that contributed to how the shockwave was created that caused the damage on the ground: how fast the meteoroid entered the Earth's atmosphere, how its kinetic energy was dissipated, and how processes that happened 4.4 billion years ago on the asteroid parent body contributed to determining the material properties of this meteoroid that made it break the way it did. Thanks to incredible local observations of this event, Chelyabinsk is expected to be a gold standard for asteroid impact modeling long into the future.

Story: [NASA]; [NASA feature story]; [SETI institute]; [Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres RAS]; [UC Davis]; [University of New Mexico]; [KNMI]

Field expedition March 9-25, 2013 (read from bottom to top):

[SETI Institute Google Hangout]
[ SETI Talk - Postcards from Chelyabinsk]

All photos below (except when indicated otherwise): P. Jenniskens, NASA ARC/SETI Institute

Chelyabinsk site seeing
Chelyabinsk: Evening sight-seeing tour.

airport door glass damage
Final observation before leaving Chelyabinsk: Jenniskens and Biryukov point to broken glass in entrance door to airport.

2013, March 25 - After dinner a quick evening tour of Chelyabinsk: Jenniskens has visited over 50 villages in the past two weeks, but missed out on many of the typical tourist sites in Chelyabinsk. Reason to come back one day. Parting gift: a set of postcards with the most famous tourist locations. Early in the morning, Biryukov picks up Jenniskens at hotel and brings him to airport. Final observation: glass fractured in one of the entrance doors.

witness interview
Khaibrakhmanov takes notes during an eye witness interview.

Revolution Square
Dudorov and Jenniskens calibrate the height of shadow obstacles at Revolution Square in Chelyabinsk.

Jenniskens' visit to Russkaya Techa
A now very tired Peter Jenniskens in Russkaya Techa, the village furthest north of the fireball trajectroy that was examined for glass damage from the shock wave, 110 km north of the fireball trajectory.

Techa river
The Techa river.

2013, March 24 - Sunday, the final day in the Chelyabinsk area. Meet with Prof. Alexandr Dudorov and student Sergey Khaibrakhmanov of Chelyabinsk State University. First calibrate two shadow sites in Chelyabinsk near hotel. Then field excursion of northern and north-eastern part of the glass damage area, all the way to Russkaya Techa, past the Techa river. In the evening: dinner feast at the home of Prof. Dudorov and family.

Statue of Pushkin
Structural damage in Yemanzhelinsk: statue of Pushkin.

Visit Yemanzhelinsk
Visit of formerly damaged school building in Yemanzhelinsk.

Calibration of shadow site
Chelyabinsk shadow site calibration, watched over by little green man.

2013, March 23 - Saturday: Field excursion mapping north-western part of the glass damage area. Visit to Yemanzhelinsk, meeting with city administrator. Inspect damage to statue of Pushkin in local library. Evening: shadow calibration measurements at four sites in Chelyabinsk. Passing one of those sites in daytime the next day, we discovered that an alien had been watching our measurements.

Eye witness
Eye witness interview at local general store.

Eye witness
Eye witness interview in the street.

School building glass damage
School building with damaged windows near eastern border of damaged area.

2013, March 22 - Friday - Long journey to map out the south-eastern extent of glass damage. People live concentrated in villages. By interviewing local market attendants and people on the street, the extent of the glass damage and personal experiences are charted. Reports of damage are verified by visiting schools. Almost every village has a school building with large windows. Those tended to be most prone to damage.

Chebarkul Lake
After thaw period, layer of water on ice prevented visit of hole.

2013, March 21 - Thursday - trip to Chebarkul by Jenniskens and Kartashova. Second attempt to visit the hole in the ice, but stopped by melt water. Also no luck verifying the existence of rumoured meteorite finds in that area and sightings of the actual impact (video security camera footage surfaced later). Visit of Kazbaevo and Zvyagino, where long duration shock phenomena in front of disruption point is confirmed. Map glass damage in south-western part of area.

Yemanzhelinsk meteorite finds
Meteorites found in northern parts of Yemanzhelinsk.

Visit to Alexandrovskiy
Small meteorites found near Alexandrovka.

Search for meteorites
Jenniskens confirms that searching for meteorites after fresh snowfall is nigh impossible.

2013, March 20 - Wednesday - Survey of sites were meteorites may have fallen. Kartashova, Jenniskens and Khaibrakhmanov travel to Etkul, then on to Belonsovo, Aleksandrovka, Baturinskiy, and Yemanzhelinsk (pronounced: Ye-men-zje-linsk). They interview finders of meteorites to determine where stones were found. Shown meteorite collections in all but Etkul, which are then photographed with a scale cube. Star background images were taken in Yemanzhelinsk and Etkul.

Visit to Triavniki
Eye witness account at the Cossack museum in Triavniki.

2013, March 19 - On Tuesday - Popova departs. In afternoon, Kartashova and Jenniskens visit Travniki (Cossack museum) and Timiryazevskiy (market). Travniki and Timiryazevskiy report no confirmed finds (later a 3.4 kg fragment would be found near Timiryazevskiy). Timiryazevskiy reports long duration shaking, no damage.

Fog near Korkino
Damage to ceiling from shockwave inside gas station.

2013, March 18 - On Monday - final day for Popova. Popova visits emergency ministry. In afternoon, visit to Chelyabinsk State University. Gathering of data on confirmed meteorite collection sites. Evening: Take star background images in Pervomayskiy (successful) and Yemanzhelinsk (too foggy). Heavy fog. Slow trip home at midnight. A gas station still shows the ceiling damage from the shockwave overpressure, after breaking a window in the door.

star background measurements Chebarkul
Star background measurements at Chebarkul. Kartashova shields camera from foreground light.

star background measurements Beloretsk
Star background image at Beloretsk.

crossing the Ural river
Crossing from Asia into Europe by passing Ural river. Popova and Kartashova.

2013, March 17 - On Sunday - road trip to Chebarkul, Uchaly (pronounced: OE-chelly) and Beloretsk (pronounced: Bil-lo-rje-tsk). By crossing the Ural river, briefly back in Europe. Left Chelyabinsk Oblast and entered the Republic of Bashortostan. In Beloretsk, arrival at closed gate, but taxi operators provide access to enclosure where fireball video was taken. Clear weather (but freezing temperatures) in Beloretsk and Chebarkul on the way back, but fog prevents taking star background images at sites in Uchaly.

visit Uchaly
Road trip to Uchaly and Beloretsk in the Republic of Bashortostan.

Sergey and Anna
Students Sergey Khaibrakhmanov of Chelyabinsk State University and Anna Kartashova of the Institute of Astronomy RAS.

2013, March 16 - Saturday - rest day. Sorting out of notes. Popova and Jenniskens meet and discuss plans for the second week, which will focus on visits to outlaying villages to map the glas damage area. Thaw has set in. Much warmer (+6C).

Chebarkul Lake meteorites
Meeting with Prof. Grokhovsky and Chebarkul Lake meteorite fragments.

inspection of meteorites
Examination of meteorite fragments found on Chebarkul Lake.

visit Yekaterinburg
Press conference at Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg.

2013, March 15 - Today, it is one month since the meteoroid impacted the area. This Friday, trip to Yekaterinburg to meet with Dr. Viktor Grokhovsky at the Ural Federal University and to take star background images at video sites nearby. Car sick from the long 3h trip. Further outreach to gather information: media interested in visit from NASA and SETI Institute researcher. Jenniskens and Popova are greeted by press cameras that followed them into the cafetaria. Arrival of Anna Kartashova from the Institute of Astronomy of RAS, Moscow. In a meeting with Grokhovsky, shown the small meteorite fragments found at Lake Chebarkul. In the evening, hoping for clear weather, dinner, but sadly no luck. Star background images would later be taken at Snezhinsk and Kamensk-Uralskiy by local residents at our request.

star backround measurements in Korkino
Star background calibration measurements in Korkino.

visit Chebarkul
Shadow calibration measurements in Chebarkul and visit to the lake.

visit Korkino coal mine
Visit to Korkino coal mine.

2013, March 14 - On Thursday, visit to a coal mine in Korkino. Met with local resident Vladimir Petrov, who reported he had so much sunburn from the meteor that the skin flaked days later. In the afternoon, visit to the administration building in Chebarkul, where shadow measurements were calibrated. Attempt to visit the hole in Lake Chebarkul, to no avail. The snow was too high to walk and there was not enough time to organize the use of a snow mobile. In evening: star background images taken at Chelyabinsk Savina Road and in Korkino at the central market. The gate at the market was opened for us by a team of snow removers. Afterwards: at 3 a.m. in the morning, tea and biscuits and exchange of mission patches by american guest and russian host.

tv studio
Local TV studio interview.

2013, March 13 - On Wednesday, Prof. Emel'yanenko departs pack to Moscow. Video records are collected, as well as seismic records from the state government. More networking and calls for information: interview at a local TV station in afernoon.

meteorite hit roof
The meteorite that hit the roof of a shed in Deputatskiy is shown to Olga Popova.

field trip
Slava Kubrin, with dash-cam (inset).

2013, March 12 - On Tuesday, the weather worsened and a fresh snow blanket settled down from the sky. Popova and Emel'yanenko met with Ministry of Emergency officials and State Meteorological Office officials to secure data on injuries, property repairs, and atmospheric data. In the afternoon, while it was still snowing, Jenniskens and Popova were taken to Deputatskiy for a first look at the fall area. They met with the family who's shed was hit by one of the meteorites. While standing there, a loud boom was heard from mining operations in a nearby mine.

meeting with governor
Meeting the governor.

talk at CSU
Talk at Chelyabinsk State University.

2013, March 11 - Today, Monday, Peter gave a talk for a packed room at Chelyabinsk State University. There was much media attention. He was presented with a small meteorite by one of the Chelyabinsk State University students that was later analysed as part of a consortium report. After the lecture, Popova, Elmel'yanenko and Jenniskens met with Chelyabinsk Oblast state governor Mikhail Yurevich. In the evening, they took the first star background images at the Chelyabinsk-Savina Road video site.

asteroid path

View from Berezniyaki to Deputatskiy, downrange along the path of the fireball.

airborne survey

After completing a successful mission.

2013, March 10 - Sunday. Today is mostly a day of planning the two weeks ahead. Peter recieves from instruction pilot Eduard Kalinin the opportunity to survey part of the fall area from 300 meter altitude during a 42 minute flight in a DIAMOND DA20 aircraft. Kalinin used the same aircraft to image the hole in Lake Chabarkul on February 16.

South Ural State University
Slava Emel'yanenko points to his former office at South Ural University in Chelyabinsk. Three neighbouring offices still need their windows replaced. hotel door with broken glass
View from Peter's hotel and the entrance door, glass damaged by the shockwave.

visit to Zn factory
From left to right: Prof. Slava Emel'yanenko, Dr. Olga Popova, and Dr. Peter Jenniskens in front of the zinc factory on March 9, 2013.

Chelyabinsk city limit
Chelyabinsk city limit.

2013, March 9 - Today, Jenniskens arrived in Moscow and met Olga and Slava on the flight from Moscow to Chelyabinsk. At the airport in Chelyabinsk, they are greeted by Dr. Eugeny "Geny" Biryukov of the South Ural State University in Chelyabinsk. The weather is clear and frosty at -11 degrees Celcius. A quick stop at the now famous zinc factory showed that repairs were already underway. The factory roof and part of a supporting wall had collapsed following the shockwave. In general, signs of the impact are quickly disappearing. Because of the cold, most primary damaged windows are already repaired. Some secondary windows are still broken, as a reminder of the damage that was done. Notably, the door of Peter's hotel still has broken glass.

2013, February 25 - A fact-finding mission by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) has received the green light, to be led by Dr. Olga Popova of the Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres of the RAS in Moscow, an expert in bolide entry modelling, and Prof. Vacheslav ("Slava") Emel'yanenko of the Institute of Astronomy of the RAS in Moscow, an expert in celestial mechanics. Meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center is invited to participate as an expert. He is the current chair of the International Astronomical Union's Commission 22 on Meteors, Meteorites and Interplanetary Dust and was the coordinator of the prior investigations into the two previous biggest impacts over land (but much smaller than Chelyabinsk: 2008 TC3 and Sutter's Mill).

Chelyabinsk fireball smoke train
Point of main disruption of the Chelyabinks fireball at 27 km altitude. Photo: Evgueny Tvorogov.

Chelyabinsk fireball
Snapshot of the Chelyabinsk firball in a photo by Evgeny Andreev. Photo: Eveny Andreev.

2013, February 15 - This morning, an about 20-m sized asteroid impacted near Chelyabinsk with an energy of ~500 kt. That is more than hundred times that of the Sutter's Mill fall. The overpressure caused many windows to break in and around Chelyabinsk (pronounce: "Chel-yeah-binsk", emphasis on second syllable) and numerous injuries occurred due to falling glass. In the global media, information about the magnitude of this event came initially from the University of Western Ontario team, who analysed infrasound data. Later, more information was obtained from space borne observations of the fireball and dust cloud, and from the preliminary analysis of some of the many video records of the fireball and its dust cloud posted on YouTube. The first find of meteorites was reported two days later by Prof. Victor Grokhovsky of the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg, and determined to be of type LL5, with shockstage S4 and weathering grade W0.



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