In one day: 2 cosmic events, 2 different outcomes

February 15, 2013 7:52:46 PM PST
Two close encounters with outer space on Friday - one had been on the radar for the last year and the other was a complete surprise.

The meteor that rocked Russia wasn't expected and it injured nearly 1,000 people.

Its bright beaming light barreled through the sky and then instantly the meteor created destruction.

Its fireball, the largest reported in more than a century, shattered windows and crumpled walls. People though they were under attack.

"They're bombing," one man says as fragments of the rock crashed to the ground.

One chunk left a large hole in a frozen lake. Most of the injuries came from shattered glass and building debris.

It was a different object from outer space that drew a crowd of people to the Franklin Institute on Friday.

Eyes were glued to the screen at 2:25 in the afternoon as a 150-foot asteroid passed by the Earth from 17,000 miles away.

Astronomers had been keeping a close watch on the asteroid, which safely kept its distance, still the cosmic coincidence had everyone abuzz.

"Completely unrelated and an amazing coincidence of cosmic activity," said Mickey Maley, Museum Program Supervisor.

"I was amazed it hurt people, it was almost upsetting - a little town to be so disrupted," said Robert Runser.

Runser and his twin girls drove to the Franklin Institute from Maryland to learn more about the historic day in science. Astronomers used videos, props and live instruction to help break it down.

"We thought this was a marvelous, teachable movement - an opportunity to help people understand how bodies in the solar system interact with one another," said Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer.

Many scientists believe the two cosmic events that happened is a sign that we need to pay better attention to our solar system.