University of Akron, Kent State University physics professors astonished by meteor in Russia

Meteor moved at 19 miles per second

AKRON, Ohio - You don't have to study physics or be from Russia to be fascinated by the tremendous speed and force of a meteor that injured thousands in Russia and shattered a countless number of windows.

But, NewsChannel5 found a University of Akron physics professor, Sergei Lyuksyutov, who lived most of his life in Russia.

His reaction to the meteor?

"It was quite astonishing," Lyuksyutov said.

The associate professor of physics is familiar with the area where the meteor streaked across the sky and terrified Russians on Friday morning. He calculated the meteor was moving at 19 miles per second.

"Fortunately, there were no fatalities as far as I know, but damage was substantial because of sonic wave," Lyuksyutov said.

As bad as the damage was, Lyuksyutov pointed out that an iron meteorite, known as Sikhote-Alin, was 10 times more powerful when it crashed in Russia in 1947.

Jim Gleeson, chairman of physics at Kent State University, said millions of meteors enter the earth's atmosphere every year, but most burn up before reaching the planet.

"What makes this unusual is that it was probably bigger than most and it was close to where people live," Gleeson said. He said most meteorites land in oceans or deserts.

When asked what would happen if a meteor landed at Kent State, Gleeson said, "Landed at Kent State? There wouldn't be a Kent State anymore probably."

While there was no warning of the meteor in Russia, scientists have been keeping an eye on an asteroid that passed close to the earth, relatively speaking.

"It's not going to hit the earth. 17,000 miles away is the closest it's going to get. That's very close, but it's not too close," Gleeson said.

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