Early on Friday morning a meteor shot through the sky over Russia's southern Chelyabinsk region. The identified flying object then exploded with a flash and boom that was powerful enough to shatter glass in nearby buildings and left hundreds of people hurt.
According to CNN, at least 500 people were injured by the explosion.
Vladimir Stepanov, of the National Center for Emergency Situations at the Russian Interior Ministry, said that 22 of the people who sustained injuries are in the hospital. About 270 buildings were damaged in the blast including hospitals, kindergartens and schools.
Roscosmos, the national space agency, has said that scientists believe one meteoroid entered the atmosphere above Russia and got so hot that it burned and disintegrated into fragments. The smaller meteorites that the disintegration created are believed to be scattered across three regions of Russia and neighboring Kazakhstan. One large chunk has already been found in a lake in the Chelyabinsk region
Doomsdays theorists will likely take note of the fact that Friday's Chelyabinsk meteor explosion occurred on the same day that a large asteroid, 2012 DA14, is set to soar past Earth. The asteroid is thought to be about half the length of a football field, 45 meters, and will zoom past the planet’s surface at a distance of about 17,100 miles.
However there is no expectation that the asteroid will have any contact with Earth, at least not today.
“No Earth impact is possible,” according to Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
If you want to see the asteroid, find a telescope. It won’t be visible to the naked eye.
Today’s meteor explosion is reminiscent of the famous Tunguska event of 1908 in Siberia. During that event, an asteroid entered the atmosphere and exploded, leveling trees and causing destruction over an area that was about two-thirds the size of Rhode Island.
Update: The number has been revised to "almost 1,000".