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Origin of Russian meteor identified

Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM   |   Comments

MEDELLIN, Colombia, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Scientists say they have reconstructed the path of the meteor that exploded over Russia Feb. 15 and identified its likely origin within our solar system.

Researchers at the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia said videos of the meteor's fireball path over the city of Chelyabinsk taken with camera phones, CCTV and car-dashboard cameras allowed them to compute its trajectory and from that its probable orbit around the sun.

The Chelyabinsk meteor appears to have been on an elliptical orbit around the Sun before it collided with Earth, they said, and its path suggests it belonged to a well-known family of space rocks known as the Apollo asteroids that periodically cross Earth's orbit.

Asteroids are grouped based on their orbits, and of about 9,700 near-Earth asteroids discovered so far about 5,200 are thought to be Apollos.

Stephen Lowry of the University of Kent in Britain said he agreed with the Colombian researchers' findings.

"It certainly looks like it was a member of the Apollo class of asteroids," he told BBC News.

"Its elliptical, low inclination orbit, indicates a solar system origin, most likely from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter."

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