A Meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Ural Mountains of western Russia today at approximately 0320 UTC (09:20 AM local time). The visible image from just after sunrise, above, from the Chinese FY-2D satellite shows an east-west plume, likely from the meteor, near Chelyabinsk. Meteosat-9 also captured the event (YouTube | EUMETSAT), as did Meteosat-10.
FY-2D has multiple channels. An animation of the visible (0.73 Âµm), near-infrared (3.8 Âµm), ‘water vapor’ (6.8 Âµm) and far-infrared (11.0 Âµm) is shown above. The signature of the meteor vapor trail is present in each of the channels. A before/after comparisonÂ (03:00 and 03:30 UTC) of FY-2D 0.73 Âµm visible, 3.8 Âµm shortwave IR, 6.8 Âµm water vapor, and 10.8 Âµm IR window channel images is shown below.
An oblique view using 0.73 Âµm visible channel images from the Japanese MTSAT-2 satellite (below; click image to play animation) revealed that the stratospheric component of the meteor trail could be seen for as long as 9 hours with the aid of illumination from the sun.
A comparison of MTSAT-2 3.75 Âµm shortwave IR, 10.8 Âµm longwave IR, and 0.73 Âµm visible channel images (below; click image to play animation) showed that the meteor plume exhibited a dark (warm) signature on the shortwave IR images, due to this channel’s sensitivity to reflected solar radiation — that signature was seen to disappear with the loss of daytime sunlight. Since the meteor trail was not a particularly dense cloud, it did not exhibit a good signature on the longwave IR images; however, there was some recognizable signal due to the fact that the mean meteor trail IR brightness temperature of around 242 K (-31Âº C) was significantly warmer than that of the background IR brightness temperature of space (165 K or -108Âº C).
(Added, October 2013: This event has been written up in a journal article: Link)