Indianapolis expert weighs in on Friday’s rare cosmic events

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Brian Murphy watched the effects of two cosmic events on Friday with great interest. The Butler University physics and astronomy professor said the meteor that entered the Earth’s atmosphere and created a sonic boom was much smaller than the asteroid that passed by the Earth hours later.

“That was the material that was vaporized off the surface of it. It was not water vapor. It was rock, iron and nickel,” said Murphy, who described what people in Siberia saw as they filmed the meteor explosion.

After the vapor trail was seen, a sonic boom shattered glass, injuring hundreds of people. Murphy said the meteor was too small to be detected.

“We don’t know where and when they’re going to enter the earth’s atmosphere,” he told Fox59.

With 70 percent of the Earth’s surface covered in water, Murphy also said meteors that get that far into the atmosphere,typically cause little to no damage. They often go undetected.

“The one we saw this afternoon, that’s one that could cause some damage, and those are the ones we need to find. Those are the size of football fields and larger,” Murphy said.

The asteroid referred to as Asteroid 2012 DA14 was thought to be about 150 feet across. An asteroid similar in size and weight made impact in a remote area of Siberia, flattening 820 square miles of trees.

“If that happened here in Indianapolis, pretty much, it would level everything in Marion County,” Murphy said.

As Murphy explained it, asteroids the size of 2012 DA14 hit our planet every 1,200 years.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.