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Video Wonder: What a Meteor Looks Like Barreling Towards Earth

Over the weekend, a meteorite appears to have struck a college campus in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, killing one, injuring three others, and leaving a hole four feet deep. If the reports are true, this would be the first time in modern history that someone has been killed by a meteorite.

As for what an approaching meteor looks like, here’s some footage from February 2013 of a meteor zooming over Russia’s Ural Mountains. The video, gathered from several vantage points, captures the meteor before its explosion. It’s dramatic, but don’t worry too much about your own safety—the chances of a piece of meteorite falling all the way to Earth are extremely small, since the rock disintegrates as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere, and statistically speaking, is most likely to fall into the ocean. 

(Also, in case you wanted to review: a meteoroid is a small particle from an asteroid or comet orbiting the sun, a meteor is a meteoroid that is observed as it burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and a meteorite is a meteoroid that makes it through the earth’s atmosphere and strikes Earth’s surface.)

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