The events of February 15, 2013, when a 60-foot-diameter (18 meters) asteroid crashed into the Earth’s atmosphere and then to ground outside Chelyabinsk, Russia, were wholly unanticipated. Details were collected not by arrays of scientific equipment, but mostly by car dashboard cameras that just happened to be pointing the right direction at the big moment. In the weeks and months that followed, scientists slowly pieced together the meteor’s story, with many roadblocks from the piecemeal data.
There was confusion over whether this unanticipated space rock was related to the close flyby, 16 hours after its impact, of asteroid 2012 DA14, discovered the previous year. This turned out to be merely a coincidence, but without the dedicated asteroid monitoring many groups advocate for, such confusion was almost guaranteed.
Take a trip back to 2013, experience the excitement, and read all the details we knew so far about the biggest meteor to hit Earth in 100 years.