What happened in Tunguska in 1908?

On June 30, 1908, in a remote part of Russia, a fireball was seen streaking across the daytime sky. Within moments, something exploded in the atmosphere above Siberia’s Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.

This event – now widely known as the Tunguska event – is believed to have been caused by an incoming meteor or comet, which never actually struck Earth but instead exploded in the atmosphere, causing what is known as an air burst, three to six miles (5–10 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.

The explosion released enough energy to kill reindeer and flatten trees for many kilometers around the blast site. But no crater was ever found.

At the time, it was difficult to reach this remote part of Siberia. It wasn’t until 1927 that Leonid Kulik led the first Soviet research expedition to investigate the Tunguska event. He made a initial trip to the region, interviewed local witnesses and explored the region where the trees had been felled. He became convinced that they were all turned with their roots to the center. He did not find any meteorite fragments, and he did not find a meteorite crater.

Over the years, scientists and others concocted fabulous explanations for the Tunguska explosion. Some were pretty wild – such as the encounter of Earth with an alien spacecraft, or a mini-black-hole, or a particle of antimatter.

The truth is much more ordinary. In all likelihood, a small icy comet or stony asteroid collided with Earth’s atmosphere on June 30, 1908. If it were an asteroid, it might have been about a third as big as a football field – moving at about 15 kilometers (10 miles) per second.

Because the explosion took place so long ago, we might never know for certain whether it was an asteroid or comet. But in recent decades astronomers have come to take the possibility of comet and asteroid impacts more seriously. They now have regular observing programs to watch for Near-Earth Objects, as they’re called. They also meet regularly to discuss what might happen if we did find an object on a collision course with Earth.

Source & Credit: EarthSky

Posted 1 year ago with 160 notes

  1. born-to-rock-and-roll reblogged this from spaceplasma
  2. tufuturololo reblogged this from spaceplasma
  3. conordroppedalime reblogged this from spaceplasma
  4. lasorciereluciferia reblogged this from whateveryoulove-youare
  5. whateveryoulove-youare reblogged this from spaceplasma
  6. jon-9000 reblogged this from spherical-harmonics
  7. spherical-harmonics reblogged this from spaceplasma
  8. riseuprunaway reblogged this from proxydeimos
  9. proxytaker reblogged this from proxydeimos
  10. proxydeimos reblogged this from spaceplasma
  11. homeonthewastes reblogged this from froglieb
  12. froglieb reblogged this from spaceplasma
  13. life-is-go0d reblogged this from spaceplasma
  14. dance-till-day-break reblogged this from dotnuke
  15. junmyk reblogged this from dotnuke
  16. dotnuke reblogged this from dannnao
  17. chesterpeanutt reblogged this from spaceplasma
  18. shayol reblogged this from orekane
  19. orekane reblogged this from dannnao
  20. torreyace reblogged this from capriquarius
  21. userfriendlygrenades reblogged this from capriquarius
  22. dannnao reblogged this from capriquarius
  23. capriquarius reblogged this from wooliebear
  24. thewhyoffry reblogged this from wooliebear
  25. andromeda1023 reblogged this from brightestofcentaurus
  26. holdinghope reblogged this from biognosis
  27. ironmetallica reblogged this from spaceplasma