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Where did the Russian meteor come from - and where's it going? Astronomers calculate orbit


The final path of meteor that injured about 1,000 people as it blasted to earth over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk has been plotted by astronomers.

Numerous videos of its blazing arrival were taken with CCTV, dashboard cameras and smart phones - many of them carrying the times when they were taken. These have helped a team from Colombia to reconstruct its solar orbit and even identify the family of asteroids from which it came.

Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin from the University of Antioquia in Medellin report: "Using evidence gathered by one camera at the Revolution Square in the city of Chelyabinsk and other videos recorded by witnesses in the close city of Korkino, we calculate the trajectory of the body in the atmosphere and use it to reconstruct the orbit in space of the meteoroid previous to the violent encounter with our planet."

They added: "Assuming that the hole in the ice sheet of Lake Cherbakul was produced by a fragment of the meteoroid is also a very important hypothesis of this work. More importantly, our conclusions relies strongly onto assume that the direction of the trajectory of the fragment responsible for the breaking of the ice sheet in the Lake, is essentially the same as the direction of the parent body"

They used times from the point when the blazing meteor cast shadows from poles at the Revolution Square of Chelyabinsk, and from the closest point of trajectory there.

"According to our estimations, the Chelyabinski meteor started to brighten up when it was between 32 and 47 km up in the atmosphere."

They used trigonometry to caalculate the path andtheir calculations suggest the meteor emanated from the Apollo asteroids, which make up the majority of near-earth space rocks discovered so far.