Whale of a Chelyabinsk meteorite fished from Russian lake

 

Divers drag the big chunk of Chelyabinsk meteorite to the shore of Lake Chebarkul earlier today.

The biggest chunk of the Russian Chelyabinsk meteorite finally saw the light of day when divers fished it up from Chebarkul Lake earlier today. The soaking wet, half-ton rock glistened on the cold, cloudy morning, its surface scalloped by hollows of rock called regmaglypts melted away during its searing flight through the atmosphere last February 15.


Video of the big catch!

Scientists and divers pulled the 5-foot-long (1.5 meter) rock from under a thick layer of silt, wrapped in a protective blanket and slid it ashore on a metal sheet. The crowd huddled around taking pictures with cameras, phones and iPads as the rock was lifted onto a scale to be weighed. As scientists used levers and ropes to hoist it from the ground, the giant meteorite broke into three pieces. Moments later it broke the scale when it hit the 1,255 pound mark!

With an estimated total weight of over 1,300 pounds (600 kg), this busted chunk of Chelyabinsk will likely make the Top Ten list of largest meteorites found. While 1,300 pounds is nothing to sniff at, the original meteoroid that entered that atmosphere that cold February morning is estimated to have weighed 10,000 tons! Some of that landed as smaller fragments, much of it burned up in the atmosphere, leaving a dusty, smoky trail that lingered for hours over the city of Chelyabinsk and the Ural Mountain region. The shock wave from the explosion of the meteoroid shattered thousands of windows, injuring some 1,200 people.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

8 thoughts on “Whale of a Chelyabinsk meteorite fished from Russian lake

  1. Correct light curves I think should be addressed as there is so much fluctuation in most graphs I look at. I myself don’t fully understand how to do it, and know there is a lot to it considering ones instrument, conditions, etc.

    Here are the two graphs I look at:
    http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2012S1/2012S1.html
    and
    http://www.isoncampaign.org/Present

    I’m pretty sure there are multiple individuals sending in their info on their magnitude readings, but there are incredible differences.
    I usually pick the “in-between” reading and average out the magnitude as there are the hopefuls, and the bottom of the spectrum skeptics maybe?
    I don’t know for sure.
    So what is the true magnitude of comet ISON right now, and from one day to the next?
    Its kind of a broad question I know, as comets do what they want to do from one moment to the next. Still, such wide differences in mag from one person to the next.

    • Brian,
      You’re right. There’s always magnitude variation among observers. I usually average them out or do the estimate myself at the telescope. One well-known observer out there tends to estimate about a full mag. higher than just about everyone else. He’s an astute amateur but I do take his estimates with a grain of salt. There are a couple others who estimate very low (1 to 1.5 mags. lower than average). Ditto on the salt.

  2. I took my 20 power binoculars out. Nice views of Mars and Regulus, but no ISON. High clouds where Encke was and the bright moonlight did not help either. I plan on trying again early next week.

      • I was not really expecting much. I am a little disappointed ISON is still as dim as it is. To me, the real comet show, I believe, will be Lovejoy in November and ISON in December.

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