Committed to the advancement, extension, improvement and coordination of Earth Science education across all levels

*Special Edition*
Asteroids and Meteorites

The Chelyabinsk Meteorite and
Asteroid 2012 DA14 - what a week
for the space science community!

Are you getting lost in all of the news stories surrounding the back-to-back astronomy events?  PAESTA has some sites we recommend you check out to catch up and keep up with all the excitement!

What is the difference....?
To help your students understand the differences between asteroids, meteors, comets, etc., NASA's Near Earth Object Program ( has a table to help clarify the definitions:  Live Science also has an explanation:  Discovery News provides a short video explanation: 

Russian meteorite reports
Organizations such as Live Science ( are maintaining a collection of ongoing news reports from during and after the meteorite strike. The Bad Astronomy blog ( is updating its information and posting videos that have captured the burning meteor as it traveled through the sky.  If you have had your fill on reports about the Chelyabinsk Meteorite, take a look back at the 1908 Tunguska impact from Earth Sky ( and NASA (, or review history's other "crashes" from National Geographic (

Asteroid 2012 DA14
NASA's website for Asteroid 2012 DA14 – Earth Flyby Reality Check - is the best source for diagrams, videos, and your FAQs (  Be sure to also check out NASA's Asteroids and Comets website (

Are the two events related?
No, even though the timing of the two events may have us think so, NASA has confirmed for us in a statement that the two events are not connected:
  • Editor's Note: NASA statement on Russia meteor:
  • "According to NASA scientists, the trajectory of the Russia meteor was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object. Information is still being collected about the Russia meteor and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14's trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north."

And for something really interesting...
Complete with videos and a Google Earth KMZ file, read about how one person has reconstructed the Chelyabinsk meteor's path with Google Earth, YouTube and high school math!

Questions for PAESTA?

If there are any other current Earth and space science events in the news where you would like recommended resources, do not hesitate to ask! Contact us at
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