fell to Earth on February 15,
streaking some 20 to 30 kilometers
above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia at
9:20am local time.
Initially traveling at about
20 kilometers per second,
its explosive deceleration after impact with the
lower atmosphere created a flash brighter than the Sun.
This picture of
the brilliant bolide (and others of its persistent trail)
was captured by photographer Marat Ametvaleev,
surprised during his morning sunrise
session creating panoramic images of the nearby frosty landscape.
An estimated 500
energy was released
by the explosion of the 17 meter wide
space rock with
a mass of 7,000 to 10,000 tons.
Actually expected to occur on
average once every 100 years, the magnitude of the Chelyabinsk event is
the largest known since the
Tunguska impact in 1908.