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How can a meteorite explode?

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maxgpgpu    206

One more thought.  I haven't been paying attention to the news recently, so I'm not sure how plausible this speculation might be.

 

Sometime in the past couple weeks a NEO (near earth object (asteroid)) passed within [something like] 18km of earth.  This meteor entered the atmosphere not that many ?days? later.  An asteroid in a highly eccentric (non-circular) orbit isn't much different than a comet, except most non-metalic elements and compounds have been exhausted (evaporated, dispersed) by previous passes close to the sun (within roughly 200,000km).

 

Also, any asteroid that isn't [just about] solid metal (nickel-iron), tends to slowly fracture, crack and "smear out" in its orbit due to repeated heating and cooling as the orbit takes the asteroid close to the sun, then far away.

 

My point is, based upon decades of experience, any asteroid that isn't "solid metal" tends to have a sort-of invisible tail like a comet, except much less visible, and much less gaseous (bits and pieces rather than gases).  The obvious inference here is that any large meteor event within days of a close asteroid pass is likely to be one of these fragments that broke off the main asteroid hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years ago.

 

If I had paid more attention to these two events, and checked the orbital paths, I could have made such an inference with more care.  But at least consider this possibility.

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laztrezort    1058

So in the videos, when we hear a giant boom, it's not necessarily any kind of explosion at all right? It's likely just the noise of the object moving through the air, which due to it's speed, has been compressed into a sonic boom, which has just reached the observer. Is it this boom that broke the windows, or was there actually a sudden explosion with a powerful shockwave as well?

I was wondering this too, but here is my conjecture:

I suppose it depends on how "explosion" is defined? All a (conventional) explosive does is move matter at very high speed, which creates a shockwave (and heat/light). In the meteor's case, the energy was potential kinetic and spread out over a large area, as opposed to stored chemical energy in a localized area.

Interestingly, in at least one of the videos, you can hear what appears to be aftershocks or smaller explosions after the first large one. I wonder if those were shockwaves generating higher up in the atmosphere, or something else?

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Kaze    948

KE=(M*V^2)/2

 

Objects in space travel very fast due to lack of friction.

 

Any collision with a relative velocity over a kilometer per second will explode due to the raw energy involved.

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szecs    2990

The sonic boom issue is not that simple. Remember, it happened high above where the air is less dense, so the speed of sound is very different.

 

Where did all the energy go? For example in the 400 km long and several km wide cloud (remember, the material was just vaporized, not extinguished). The vaporization of the rock itself. It broke glasses and blew some doors 30 km away (it's a luck that there weren't more cities around). It probably heated the air around it, we can't feel it on the ground.

 

 

But I guess my posts are being ignored on this forum (I thought I gave a pretty good idea that one could do one's own calculations, based on videos, which may be edited (um.... I haven't seen such a fine CGI yet)), posted some very similar looking images of meteors (um,, of course, they can be missiles too)

 

 

So I dunno why the fuck I bother

Edited by szecs

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alh420    5995

But I guess my posts are being ignored on this forum

Why do you think you're ignored?
I really liked your pictures, and would've upvoted them if I could.
Everyone but Samoth is agreeing with you, so not much to reply to unfortunately.

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slicer4ever    6760

But I guess my posts are being ignored on this forum


 

i read your posts, but as Olof said, the only thing to do with that post is to agree, the only person with cause to directly respond/conflict with what you've said is samoth.

 

I really really hate to say this, but i'm sure i'm not the only one to think this. but if this meteorite had actually decimated a city(and thankfully it didn't), it probably would have increased our global awareness toward expanding into space by a hundred fold or so.  as it stands now, it'll be a forgotten event in less than a year=-\.

Edited by slicer4ever

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alh420    5995


"If a meteor made out of diamond and 100 feet in diameter was traveling at the speed of light and hit the earth, what would happen to it?"

Wedding rings get cheaper?


I guess you're right.
Since there wouldn't be any humans left alive, not much demand for wedding rings.

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ddn3    1610

Given the temperatures involved its quite possible for things to explode. Look at the mythbusters experiments with ice and thermite  The sheer heat from the thermite might be disassociating the ice into hydrogen and oxygen and creates a massive explosion. It isn't the heat of the thermite turning the ice into steam since the effect seem to take alittle time to occur instead of on contact. I'm sure super heated iron mixed with ice inside the meteor provides ripe opportunity for much interesting chemistry and explosive effect. Or maybe it was the sonic shock wave itself which blew apart the meteor once it dropped below the speed of sound..

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