By INDYKIDS STAFF
On February 15, a meteor, a body of matter from outer space, exploded above the ground in the eastern Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Parts of the exploded meteor hit a school, the Chelyabinsk Railway Institute. According to the Russian Academy of Sciences, it weighed 10 tons, was 10 feet in diameter and traveled 10-12 miles per second. Mike Hankey, from the American Meteor Society (AMS), spoke to IndyKids:
IndyKids: What are the scientific odds that a meteor would hit a school in Siberia?
Mike Hankey: These are astronomical odds, impossible to predict or calculate. Considering this fireball was a one in 100 year event and it could have hit anywhere on the planet, at any time of day (not just during school), I’d say the odds are higher than one in a million. But even with incredible odds, it did still happen.
IK: What fun fact should kids know about meteors?
MH: Meteorites are rocks that fall from the sky. When they fall they make a bright light in the sky. Meteorites are leftovers from the creation of our solar system. They are the rarest and oldest material on the planet. Each year, over 15,000 tons of meteorite debris hit the Earth. 7,000 tons hit Russia in one day.
IK: What can kids do to learn more about meteors?
MH: Go outside at nighttime during the peak of a meteor shower. The Perseids Meteor Shower lasts from July 23 to August 20 and peaks on August 13. Take a nap the day of the peak and then wake up a little after midnight. Go outside (in a dark place, not the city) and watch the sky for a few hours. You could see hundreds of meteors in a single night.