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Astronomers Trace Origins Of Russian Meteor Using Simple Trigonometry

And it came, says the team, from the Apollo class of asteroids.

The spectacular meteor that made an appearance over the Urals two weeks ago has been traced by a Colombian team of astronomers. Their calculations suggest that the space rock belongs to the Apollo asteroids, a well-known family of asteroids that cross the Earth's orbit, and are thought to make up over half of the 9,700 near-Earth asteroids.

Using trigonometry on the rock's final location, and video footage of its trajectory, the team were able to calculate the meteor's height, speed, and position. After feeding the figures into software developed by the U.S. Naval Observatory, they came out with their results. It's an impressively fast discovery, says Kent University's Dr. Stephen Lowry—not as fast, however, as the meteor, which was assumed to be travelling at around 5km per second before its impact with the Earth.

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