Education
5:36 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Clark Planetarium's "The Sky is Falling" Display Adds Pieces of Russian Meteorite

Rock fragments from February 15th, 2013 asteroid event in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Credit Bob Nelson

Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City now features three pieces of an asteroid that slammed into the earth’s atmosphere over Russia in February this year. Planetarium director Seth Jarvis says the event created a shock wave several times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

“It was a pressure wave and it simply blew out windows, caved in factory roofs, blew in doors…sent glass flying everywhere," says Jarvis. "The 1500 or so people who were injured during this event were not injured because pieces of rock fell on them. They were injured because the blast wave blew out so much glass there was flying glass all over Chelyabinsk,” Jarvis says.

He says that particular day scientists were keeping their eyes on another asteroid known as DA14 that was due for a very close flyby when it happened.

Chelyabinsk rocks added to new collection of meteorites already on display at Clark Planetarium at the Gateway in Salt Lake City.
Credit Bob Nelson

“This one totaling blinded-sided us which I think is kind of a cosmic dope-slap. It’s a bit of a wakeup call. You know the universe is tapping you on the shoulder and it’s hey, hey, dummy…pay attention to these," says Jarvis.  "This stuff happens and on February 15th, I’m going to give you a double dose of wake up,” he adds.

Jarvis says these new rocks are an important addition to the planetarium’s new “Sky is Falling” exhibit because we are just beginning to understand what’s out there that may directly impact our lives. He says scientists and world leaders need to put together a plan for when the next one comes along. The public relations company for Clark Planetarium, Riester, donated the new space rocks, which are now part of the regular features of the planetarium.

Below is a compilation of dash cam videos that caught the meteorite entering the Earth's atmosphere.