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Meteorite shower could be on the way

Owen Bennedick.
Owen Bennedick. John McCutcheon/192402

THE meteorite that injured more than 1200 people when it exploded over Russia on Friday could be the first of many, a Sunshine Coast astronomer says.

Owen Bennedick, from the Wappa Falls Observatory, said another meteor could hit the earth within a week.

He said appropriate tracking systems were not in place to say exactly where and when it could hit.

"Another could be heading towards earth," Mr Bennedick said.

"These things travel through space in groups. They bump into one another and break off.

"They do a great job tracking the big stuff, but not the small stuff like this."

About 1200 people, including 200 children, were injured when a meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday AEST.

The explosion caused a shockwave that smashed windows and damaged buildings.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said the fire-ball travelled at an esti-mated speed of 30km per second.

It left a white trail that could be seen up to 200km away.

According to NASA, it was unrelated to the 2012 DA14 asteroid flyby earlier on Friday.

The Russia meteor was the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia.

Mr Bennedick said that if another meteorite were on the way, there was no telling where it could hit.

"If they missed a small one they might miss the next one," he said.

"If this one in Russia got to the ground the city wouldn't be there.

"If it didn't break up it would have made a substantial hole."

Mr Bennedick said there was no telling how big any following meteorites could be.

Topics:  astrology astronomy owen bennedick


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