2013 is a banner year for giant hurtling boulders in the sky. If you’re curious about the terms (meteor? meteoroid? asteroid?), there’s a great poster on the American Meteor Society site that clarifies them.
There have already been some dramatic sky activities this year, and more are expected. Here are some great videos:
- February 15: a 10,000 ton meteorite hits the Russian atmosphere (Watch the explosion and see people react.)
- Same day, hours later, an asteroid passes close by the Earth — completely unrelated but also terrifying
- A comet 1 to 3 kilometers wide that might hit Mars in 2014
- Less alarmingly, the Pan-STARRS comet which passed by a few weeks ago resulting in little panic, just beautiful video
The Russian meteorite broke through the ice when it landed in a lake:
Next up: Comet ISON is expected in November 2013. Some astronomers are saying it will be extremely bright, perhaps as bright as the full moon.