By Alexandra Burlacu email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 17, 2013 10:42 AM EST
Russian dashboard cameras captured some amazing images in recent times, and now they have captured stunning photos and videos of a meteor exploding over central Russia.
The small video cameras fixed to the dashboard or rear view mirror of a car are designed to film traffic and the road ahead. Such "dashcams" are very popular in Russia due to motorists' fears of corruption, violence, and insurance fraud schemes that can affect the quality of driving in the country.
Back in December 2012, a dashboard camera captured gruesome footage of a plane crashing outside Moscow. On Friday, Feb. 15, such cameras captured footage of a meteor streaking over the Ural Mountains region in central Russia.
Due to Russians' love of dashboard cameras, the most dramatic footage of the meteorite fragments that rained down on the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and the surrounding area did not come from television news crews, but from those small gadgets perched on car dashboards.
The footage of the meteorite flare is both spectacular and scary. The meteorite explosion injured nearly 1,100 people, broke windows, damaged buildings, and caused great panic. Videos from the scene showed objects piercing through the clear morning sky and exploding into giant fireballs. Vapor trails were miles-long, and the sound of multiple explosions rumbled the scene.
According to estimates from the Russian Academy of Sciences, the meteorite weighed roughly 10 tons and entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,000 mph, shattering about 18 - 32 miles above ground. Russian officials said the main chunk of the meteorite fell on the outskirts of the city.
Most of the people who were injured were hit by flying glass, but no reports noted deaths or life-threatening injuries. Mobile networks were down for roughly two hours after the meteorite crashed to Earth, as people were frantically trying to call each other and find out what happened.
The astonishing footage captured by dashboard cameras seems ripped from a movie. The difference is that this is real, not a fictional Smallville-like experience. Chelyabinsk authorities said that radiation levels in the region, which has several nuclear power stations, were normal. Evacuation was not considered necessary, but schools and universities were closed and workers were sent home early.