Local astronomer talks meteor, asteroid - FOX 32 News Chicago

Local astronomer talks meteor, asteroid

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CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -

Scientists insist that a meteor that crashed in Russia had nothing to do with an asteroid that flew by Earth on Friday.

With a sonic boom, the 10-ton meteor exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains, breaking windows, blowing out doors and sending hundreds of people to the hospital.

"So people were curious about this bright light, went to their windows to look out and then the sonic boom hit and shattered those windows. So, a lot of those injuries came from glass," said Tellus Science Museum astronomer David Dundee.

Dundee says it's just a cosmic coincidence that the meteor crash and the asteroid passing happened within 14 hours of each other.

"We know for sure the two objects were not related. They're coming from different items," said Dundee.

Folks gathered in the Cartersville museum's theatre on Friday to watch a live feed of the second celestial event of the day, the passing of 2012 DA14 -- a 150-foot asteroid that came within 17,000 miles of earth.

"Early this morning, my mother offered to take me to see the asteroid. And I thought it would be very fun. And wouldn't you know, it was," said Jake Vaccaro.

Dundee says it's the closest an asteroid has come to Earth in recorded history.

"This asteroid passed 1/13th of the distance between the Earth and the moon. So, that's really, really close," Dundee said.

If an asteroid were to come a little too close for comfort, Dundee says Hollywood had it all wrong.

"We have technology now to be able to nudge them; you don't want to explode them like the Bruce Willis movies," Dundee said.

NASA had high tech radar trained on the asteroid as it passed earth. The hope is to one day be able to mine asteroids for water and precious metals.

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