Friday, February 15, 2013
The Russian Meteor -- Run For Your Lives!
Time for something completely different. This meteor exploding over Russia puts a sort of punctuation on recent events, I'd say. Of course, the official word is that it has nothing to do with anything, it's just one of those things that happen, coinkydink that there's an asteroid barreling through Earthspace and whatnot, and boy aren't the videos grand!
This site has collected most of them (can't vouch for its security, though, being Russian and all.)
When I saw the first one, I thought, "Holy fuck!" I've seen plenty of meteors while driving at night, so it's not an unfamiliar sight at all -- though it always surprises. Especially when they are bright and seemingly very close. I have seen a couple of them appear to explode as well, but I've never heard a sound like the sonic boom recorded in some of the videos. I've heard a somewhat peculiar hissing sound associated with a meteor fall, but according to experts, "it can't be."
Bad Astronomy will fill us in on expert opinion. As skeptical as the pros and experts are about something outside their specialty, it's always wise to be skeptical of their pronouncements about what "we now know" and don't know, too. Knowledge in the sciences and especially in astronomy and planetology is always changing. What is pronounced as fact or truth with utter certainty today will turn out to be startlingly wrong tomorrow, almost guaranteed. At any rate, the Bad Astronomy article is useful as an example of how astonishing things are handled, and what kind of thought processes go into that handling.
The Guardian is keeping tabs on things. Wish I understood Russian better so I could keep tabs on their reports. Oh well.