Soon after a meteor exploded in the sky over Russia on Friday, photos and video of the event began to go viral.
The Russian meteor, estimated to be about 10 tons in size, traced a bright arc in the sky over Chelyabinsk, a city close to 1,000 miles east of Moscow. Its explosion, somewhere between 18 to 30 miles above Earth's surface, released several kilotons of energy into the atmosphere -- equivalent to several thousand metric tons of TNT, or a small nuclear weapon.
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“First there was a blinding flash. My wife and I were in a panic wondering if there was a war,” said Oleg Lastochkin, editor of Metro Chelyabinsk, a newspaper in the city. “Four minutes after the flash, we felt a shock wave and the apartment windows were shaking. Street car sirens went off and then we heard five or six explosions.”
Damage from the resulting explosion injured an estimated 1,000 people, CNN reports, most of whom sustained injuries from flying glass and other building-related destruction. Most of the injuries are thought to be fairly minor.
NASA scientists say the Russian meteor is unrelated to DA14, an asteroid expected to pass very close to Earth on Feb. 15.
PHOTOS of the Russian meteor: