So apparently the Burning Legion is invading Russia... ow.ly/hJI1P- Josh Allen (@devolore) February 15, 2013
For those of you unaware, late last night (around 9 a.m. local time where the event occurred), a meteorite fell to Earth in the Russian Ural Mountains. It created a brilliant light show in the sky, leaving a heavy white contrail in its wake and reportedly exploding at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,800 feet.) The shockwave of the meteor's explosion caused surface-level damage, resulting in over one hundred individuals calling for medical assistance due to injuries sustained from broken glass and other shrapnel. The number of reported injured continued to rise throughout the night, up to 400 less than two hours after impact. A zinc factory in the area also suffered heavy damages: the shockwave cause 6,000 square feet of roofing to collapse. If you're curious what such an impact might sound like, you're in luck. And here's another for good measure.
A Russian news service has reported that Russia's air defense shot the meteor down rather than allow it to impact in one piece, but that part of the story has not been corroborated at the time of writing, and video footage provides evidence to the contrary. Meteors and meteorites burning up and/or exploding in the atmosphere is normal, and if you didn't know better, you certainly could assume its spontaneous detonation was the result of some sort of weapon.
This meteorite is currently considered unrelated to Asteroid 2012 DA14, an asteroid with a 150-foot diameter that will be passing a mere 27,000 kilometers (17,000 miles) from Earth today, and perhaps already has by the time you read this sentence. To put that number in perspective, Earth's man-made geosynchronous satellites orbit our planet at a distance of 36,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) above Earth's surface -- the asteroid will pass between Earth and our satellites. According to existing records (which only go back 15-20 years or so), that's the closest an asteroid has ever come to Earth without actually impacting its surface. However, the asteroid certainly will miss us, so there's no need to panic, but you should read up on it. It's neat stuff.
So ... Mists of Pandaria. Pandas? What's up with that?
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