2013 Russian Meteor Explosion

2013 Russian Meteor Explosion

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Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 03:07AM EST by Brad.

Added Feb 15, 2013 at 09:38AM EST by LucasK336.

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2013 Russian Meteor Explosion refers to the meteorite impact event that took place over the Chelyabinsk region in Siberia, Russia on February 15th, 2013. The spectacle of the meteor streaking across the sky before exploding in mid-air was recorded on cameras from multiple vantage points near the impact site, the footage of which were subsequently uploaded to YouTube later that same day.


On the morning of February 15th, 2013, a meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere and shattered several kilometers above ground in Chelyabinsk region of Siberia, Russia. The shock wave caused by the explosion reached several cities in proximity, causing slight damage to buildings and injuring hundreds of people due to the broken glass falling from the buildings.[1]

The fireball and its subsequent explosion were captured by dozens of cameras in the area, including dashboard camera and security camera footage, even from places 700 km away[2]. It was initially thought to be a meteor shower,[3] which was then discarded. Reports conflicted on what exactly happened. A spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry was quoted by the Interfax[4] news agency saying it was a single meteor.

Notable Developments

On YouTube

Immediately after the meteor exploded over the Russian airspace, several videos were uploaded to YouTube, many of which were taken with dashboard and security cameras.

Other videos managed to capture the loud noise caused by the explosion on the higher atmosphere and the moment the blast reaches the ground.

On Reddit

In the following hours, a Russian dashcam video of the meteor was posted to the the /r/videos subreddit,[5] which gained over 18,643 up votes and 4000 comments within nine hours. The same day, Redditor tster75 submitted an animated GIF of the meteor turning into Rainbow Dash’s “sonic rainboom” from the animated television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (shown below), receiving over 2,400 up votes and 100 comments in the next five days. Within one week, more than 500 posts referencing the meteor were submitted to the social news site.

On Twitter

Immediately after the meteor hit, the Russian-language hashtag “#метеорит” began trending on Twitter. The same day, several other parody feeds were created, including @RussianMeteor,[9] @MeteorRussia[10] and @RusMeteor.[11] Other Twitter users began joking about the cause of the meteor hitting Russia, attributing fault to a variety of people (shown below).

Hours later, comedian Jake Fogelnest registered the @RussiaMeteor Twitter feed and announced he had done so to prevent the creation of another parody account.

Black Market Emerges

On February 19th, the tech news blog Death and Taxes[8] reported that Russians had already established a black market to sell discovered fragments of the meteorite. The article went on to report that scientists were having difficulty gaining access to the fallen rocks, who were competing with speculators attempting to find fragments to sell.

February 20th, 2013: 100 Million Views Reached

On February 20th, footage of the meteor hosted on a variety of sites surpassed 100 million views, averaging 20 million views per day since the meteor entered the atmosphere. The online measurement company Visible Measures[6] reported that the meteor surpassed both Felix Baumgartner’s space jump and the Kony 2012 video in crossing the 100 million mark, making it the fastest spreading online video event.

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