In 1947, on the 17th day of February, one of the largest meteorites to strike the Earth in the twentieth century fell in the Russian Far East. Its landing site was a perfect spot from which to watch the Geminid meteor showers.
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Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker is loosely based on this famous science fiction novel, in which there are certain zones briefly visited by extraterrestrials who have left behind artifacts with strange powers and altered zones where odd and sometimes dangerous phenomena occur.
Chunks of cosmic debris are called meteoroids while in outer space, meteors while passing through the atmosphere, and meteorites once they hit Earth’s surface. It is estimated that the Sikhote-Alin meteoroid was approximately 100,000 kg (220,000 lb), while its post-atmospheric mass as a meteorite was some 23,000 kg (51,000 lb).
The meteor’s bright flash and the deafening sound of the fall were reportedly observed from as far as 400 kilometers away. The smoke trail was estimated at 32 km (20 mi) long.
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