A Russian health official says nearly 1,000 people have sought help for injuries caused by a meteor that exploded in the sky, blasting out countless windows.

Meteor streaks across the sky in Russia
Meteor streaks across the sky in Russia (YouTube)

Chelyabinsk health chief Marina Moskvicheva, said Friday that 985 people in her city had asked for medical assistance. The Interfax news agency quoted her as saying 43 were hospitalized.

The Russian Academy of Sciences said the meteor — estimated to be about 10 tons — entered the Earth's atmosphere going at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph). It shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above the ground, releasing several kilotons of energy above the Ural Mountains.

Amateur video broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky just after sunrise, leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.

Asteroid will buzz Earth, miss by 17,150 miles

Scientists say a 150-foot asteroid hurtling toward a close pass with Earth today had nothing to do with the meteor that injured hundreds in Russia today.

The asteroid is expected to make the closest known flyby for a rock of its size, missing Earth by 17,150 miles.

But that's closer than many communication and weather satellites.

The asteroid will be too small to see with the naked eye. The best viewing locations, with binoculars and telescopes, will be in Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.

As asteroids go, this is a shrimp. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles across. But this rock could still pack a wallop, wiping out 750 square miles if it struck.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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