Scientists put forward a new version of the "fall" of the Tunguska meteorite

The Tunguska event occurred around 7:00 a.m. local time on June 30, 1908 near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia.
The Tunguska meteorite explosion occurred around 7:00 a.m. local time on June 30, 1908 near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia.

Tunguska meteorite did not hit the Earth, but passed through the atmosphere, according to Russian scientists. They presented their version of what happened in the magazine Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In their view, an asteroid made of iron passed through the Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of ten to 15 kilometers.

Its diameter was between 100 and 200 meters, and its flight speed was about 20 kilometers per second.

At the same time, scientists believe that the asteroid could not consist of stone or ice, because in this case, it would collapse.

The anomaly near the Tunguska Podkamennaya River occurred in 1908. Some scientists believe that the power of the explosion was 40-50 megatons, which is comparable to the energy from the explosion of the most powerful hydrogen bomb, according to other estimates - 10-15 megatons. The shock wave was recorded by observatories around the world. As a result of the anomaly, trees over 2,000 square kilometres were destroyed.

New Tunguska meteorite research

The new version of the fall of the Tunguska meteorite was presented by scientists of the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the SB RAS Federal Research Center and their colleagues from other Russian academic institutes and universities. More precisely, the new “scenario” does not mean a fall. 

According to experts, there was no direct collision of a celestial body with the Earth, it continued its movement in a circumsolar orbit. At the same time, the meteorite lost almost half of its mass (initially it was measured in three million tons).

The researchers believe that a huge space fireball did not fall when it entered the atmosphere, but flew back into space. And it wasn't icy, it was iron.  Scientists tested their theory on the small asteroids' patterns of behavior in the Earth's atmosphere... The new interpretation of events explains the absence of meteorite fragments at the site of the "fall".

Tunguska meteorite shock wave and fires

The shock wave that occurred when the space visitor entered the atmosphere, could "cut" the trees on the territory of more than 1.5 thousand square kilometers. And the fires that covered the area of the disaster could be caused by light radiation of high intensity. The temperature of its surface at that time, according to scientists' calculations, was more than 10 thousand degrees.

Distribution of the velocity moduli of air flowing around a spherical body with a radius of 100 m.
Distribution of the velocity moduli of air flowing around a spherical body with a radius of 100 m.

Recall that a ball of fire flew over Eastern Siberia on June 30, 1908 and there was a strong explosion that tumbled down the forest and caused a fire. Scientists suggested that a meteorite became the cause of the disaster, but no fragments were found.