Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains Russian Meteor Strike

Posted on February 15, 2013

A meteor hit Russia's Chelyabinsk region early this morning injuring 500 people. The videos of the strike look like something out of a science fiction movie. Three thousand buildings were damaged. Windows blew out as the giant sonic wave spread across the area.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was a guest on The Today Show to explain the event. Dr. Tyson said that the impact would have been much, much worse if the event had happened over a more populated region. He explained, "It's a shock wave ... this asteroid is coming in, it hits Earth's atmosphere, and it feels like a brick wall to it, because of how fast it's moving. When you hit a brick wall, you basically explode."

He also explained why the meteors can't be detected below a certain size, and assured people it would not be "an extinction level event." That would require a much larger meteor hit. We feel so much better. Dr. Tyson said he does not believe that the meteor hit is related to the asteroid that is going to pass very close to earth today at around 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Here is a clip of Tyson explaining meteors with the help of his tie.

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