2012 DA14 asteroid© Leonid Elenin / ISON-NM Observatory
Meteorite fragments that hit Russia’s Urals© AFP 2013/ Oleg Kargopolov/ 74.ru
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MOSCOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti) – The meteorite that hit Russia’s Urals on Friday morning was not debris from the 2012 DA14 asteroid which is due to pass close by the Earth later the same day, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.
The agency’s experts confirmed there is no link between the meteorite and the asteroid, ESA said on its official Twitter, but provided no details of its analysis.
The 2012 DA14, which is roughly 50 meters (165 feet) in size, will pass 27,000 kilometers (17,100 miles) from the Earth – closer than satellites in the geosynchronous orbit, which is 36,000 kilometers.
The 2012 DA14 flyby will take place at 19:24 GMT, about 16 hours after the meteorite incident in Chelyabinsk Region which left at least 400 injured, mostly from glass broken by the shock wave as the meteorite flew past.
The asteroid was linked to the meteor by numerous media reports. Tatiana Bordovitsina, an astronomy professor at Tomsk State University in western Siberia, told RIA Novosti two hours before the ESA statement that the meteorite could have been debris preceding the asteroid, but said a more thorough examination of the incident was needed.
NASA confirmed that 2012 DA14 is not on collision course with the planet, but said if the asteroid hit the Earth, the resulting explosion would be 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that obliterated Hiroshima in 1945.
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