Remember that giant meteor that exploded over the Russian city Chelyabinsk back in February? You may have forgotten all about it, but NASA hasn't. The agency today released a new animated video of data collected by its Suomi-NPP weather observation satellite, which reveals that after the meteor entered Earth's atmosphere and exploded with 30 times the force of the US atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it caused a huge dust cloud made of hundreds of tons of debris. The cloud then traveled all the way around the northern hemisphere within four days, and remained up in the sky for three months, NASA explains.
The Suomi-NPP satellite was able to detect the plume at a height of 25 miles up, traveling at a speed of 190 miles per hour, just 3.5 hours after the explosion, according to the agency. The full implications of this dust cloud remain to be seen, but NASA notes that the meteor itself — though it weighed 11,000 metric tons — was much smaller that ones linked to previous extinction events, and could help scientists better understand the disastrous implications of future meteors. Scientists are publishing preliminary results of their study of this cloud in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.