MOSCOW: A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb yesterday, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring nearly 1,000 people.
The spectacle deeply frightened many Russians, with some elderly women declaring that the world was coming to an end.
Many of the injured were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows to see what the source was for such an intense flash of light.
The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement the meteor – estimated to be about 10 tons – entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54,000 kph and shattered into pieces about 30-50 kilometers above the ground.
The meteor released several kilotons of energy above the region, the science academy said.
The meteor hit less than a day before Asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid to the Earth – about 28,000 kilometers, but the European Space Agency in a tweet said its experts had determined there was no connection – just cosmic coincidence.