Chebarkul Lake meteorites confirmed as fragments of Russian fireball

The massive fireball over Chelyabinsk, Russia Friday dropped meteorites in at least one location – Lake Chebarkul west of the city.

The Russian International News Agency (RIA Novosti) confirms that the small half-inch black rocks littered around the hole on frozen Lake Chebarkul near Chelyabinsk have been confirmed as meteorites from Friday’s exploding fireball. Click HERE for a closeup photo.

Stony chondrite meteorites were found around this hole in Lake Chebarkul. Credit: Andrey Orlov

Victor Grokhovsky of Urals Federal University and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Meteorites, described the fragments as  ordinary chondrites, a common type of stony meteorite knocked from the crust of an asteroid. The space rocks have an iron content of about 10 percent.

Gokhovsky hopes the new fall will be named Chebarkul, after the nearest town. Most meteorite falls are named after the nearest city, post office or important landmark after being reviewed by the Nomenclature committee of the Meteoritical Society, a group of over 1000 scientists and meteorite enthusiasts from around the world.

Based on the fireball’s dual smoke trail and multiple explosions heard, there were probably at least several masses of meteorite that fell in addition to the material at Chebarkul Lake. No reports on those … yet. Just listen carefully to the video below.

Smoke trail and explosions from the Russian meteor 

Video of the fireball from a very different vantage point. Watch the effects of the shock wave after the meteor passes 

Watch asteroid 2012 DA14 flyby LIVE on the Web

2012 DA14 earlier this morning seen from Australia. The negative or reversed image is a 4-minute time exposure. The fast-moving asteroid created a trail of light during that time. Credit: Dave Herald

After this morning’s Russian fireball, we’re all sitting on the edge of our seats, but the fireball and 2012 DA14 are unrelated asteroid fragments on very different paths. One made a beeline directly to Earth, the other will safely pass 17,150 miles away around 1:24 p.m. (CST) today. The latest estimates on the Russian meteoroid’s size before it broke it up in the atmosphere put it around 50 feet across with a weight upwards of 7,000 tons. Today’s asteroid in contrast is about 150 feet end-to-end and tips the scales at 209,000 tons.

Amateur astronomer Dave Herald of Australia has been busy taking pictures of 2012 DA14 through his telescope overnight. His photograph shows the asteroid as a trail against the starry backdrop as it moved northward during the 4-minute time exposure. Herald will be providing an online feed with his observations and photos for NASA later today.

Simulated image of 2012 DA14 approaching Earth this morning around 9:15 a.m. CST. Antarctica shows up nicely as the asteroid closes in. Click to see the latest image.

If you’d like to hear commentary and see real-time pictures of the flyby (from Dave and others), check out NASA TV’s live stream beginning at 11 a.m. Central Time and continuing through the afternoon. Undoubtedly you’ll learn more about the Russian fireball there, too. When pictures are shown, the asteroid will look exactly like a star, because you’re looking at a small object many thousands of miles away.

A Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 8 p.m. CST this evening when the asteroid is visible in a dark sky over the U.S. You can view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter HERE.

And don’t forget to take a virtual ride-along with the asteroid available HERE. Images are updated every 2 minutes. Enjoy the show!