AC Physics Professor weighs in on asteroid and meteorite - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

AC Physics Professor weighs in on asteroid and meteorite

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SHERMAN, TX - Scientists have known for about a year that an asteroid would pass close to the earth today, but the meteorite that crashed into Russia took everyone by surprise.

As the asteroid approached astronomers all but guaranteed it wouldn't hit the planet.

While some people here in our area were a bit antsy, others didn't even know what was going on.

As NASA was focusing on an asteroid the size of half a football field, something no one was expecting, blazed a trail into the sky over Russia.

"It's scary, something like that could hit a big city here and do a whole lot of damage," said Randy Graham.

"It's hard to believe that there's things out there that we can't see and can't predict," Jennifer McCarthy said.

This was the scene early Friday morning.

Bright lights filling the sky in Russia.

As a meteorite crashed into the Ural Mountains, injuring more than a thousand people.

"The meteor that burst over Russia today, it was 3 times smaller and it's impact was 10 times less, than the impact had this asteroid hit," said Austin College Physics Professor, David Baker.

Scientists estimate the meteor weighed ten to eleven tons.

Professor David Baker says the asteroid that passed by was only detected about a year ago with a super telescope.

 "It missed us by 15 minutes, it's one of the closest asteroid passes we've had in a while."

Since NASA started monitoring asteroids, Baker says this is the closest one has come to earth, and it would have done a lot of damage if it had hit.

 "So this asteroid, even though it's relatively small, 50 yards in diameter, it would make a hole a crater in the earth, that could be 200, 300 yards."

A lot of people assume this asteroid and the meteorite that crashed in Russia are connected, but so far Baker says scientists are calling it a cosmic coincidence.

An exciting event in the science community, but one that alarms others.

"I don't know, you know you wonder, what this world's coming to, how much longer we've got, something like that could take us out ya know," said Graham.

Professor Baker says later this year Austin College will be getting a new telescope so they can also monitor asteroids, like NASA does.