Warning! -
Chelyabinsk Meteor Was A Member Of Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Family -
Over 20 More Are Lurking Somewhere In The Sky

13 August, 2013

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Follow us: - Somewhere in the sky, there are still lurking more than 20 members of potentially hazardous asteroid family - the so-called "Chelyabinsk family".

On 2013 February 15, 03:20:33 GMT a superbolide was observed in the skies near Chelyabinsk. Russia.

It entered the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and a shallow angle and exploded high over Russia's Ural region, injuring more than 1000 people and causing millions of euros of damage.

The explosion was - the most powerful since the Tunguska event 1908.

Multiple calculations revealed that the parent object was one of the so-called Apollo asteroids that periodically cross the orbit of the Earth and may pose a real danger to the Earth.

Bright fireballs or bolides are caused by meteoroids entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed. Was the Chelyabinsk meteor a fragment of a very large asteroid? Such a meteor could be the result of the decay of an asteroid.

Now, the scientists have found reliable statistical evidence for the existence of the Chelyabinsk cluster, or asteroid family.

Carlos de la Fuente Marcos and colleagues from the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain explore this possibility applying a multistep approach and warn that orbits of many more of them can intersect with that of our planet.

This asteroid family includes multiple small asteroids and two relatively large members: 2007 BD7 and 2011 EO40. They range in size from 5 to 200 meters across.

The most probable parent body for this potentially hazardous asteroid family is 2011 EO40, scientists say. The orbits of these objects are quite perturbed as they experience close encounters not only with the Earth-Moon system but also with Venus, Mars and Ceres, scientists write in their paper.

"More objects with the same orbital signature may encounter our planet in the future," Marcos said.

When will the next member of this dangerous asteroid family appear in the sky?

See also:

Asteroid Danger: We Need Sufficient Warning System

Russia's Meteorite-Hit Urals - Object Has No Connection With Asteroid 2012 DA14, Experts Say

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