An asteroid that may have been the source for the meteor that exploded above Chelyabinsk, Russia in February. It is thought that a fragment of the suspect asteroid broke off to produce the meteor.

As New Scientist reports: Now Carlos de la Fuente Marcos and his brother Raul, both of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, are pointing the finger at asteroid 2011 EO40. Roughly 200 metres wide, it is a rock – or cluster of rocks –previously listed as potentially hazardous by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

2011 EO40 has yet to be confirmed as the source, although it is part of the Apollo asteroid family that has been identified as the originating asteroid group. Even if 2011 EO40 is confirmed, it does little to prevent future such incidents; there are many more asteroids of that ilk and size, and they are at the lower end of the size range of tracked near Earth objects. The meteor shattered windows across Chelyabinsk and the surrounding area, briefly lighting up the sky with a bomb-like flash. There was no indication of imminent impact in advance of the meteorite’s arrival.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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