Unknown, French | Comet | ca. 1900 | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Unknown, French | Comet | ca. 1900 | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Debris from a meteor streaked through the sky in western Siberia early this morning, causing a boom that damaged a large number of buildings, mainly in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Some 1,000 people were reportedly hurt, mostly as a result of glass shattering when the meteor entered the atmosphere.

The ARTstor Digital Library of course boasts many impressive images of meteors. Featured in our slide show is an image of  the Krasnojarsk Meteorite, found in Russia in 1749, courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University), which includes several other fascinating specimens; a watercolor of people watching another 18th-century meteorite from Windsor Castle, from the Yale Center for British Art; and a detail of a medieval woodcut showing  a meteorite falling near Ensisheim, Alsace, in 1492, from The Warburg Institute.  You may have noticed that the post opens with a photo of a comet from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; we realize that a comet is technically not a meteor (Project ASTRO has a good explanation of the differences), but the image was too pretty to ignore.

Workshop of Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff | View of Constantinople - Golden Horn (Istanbul), with fire falling from the sky; Meteorite falling near Ensisheim, Alsace, in 1492 | 1493 | Image and original data from The Warburg Institute Library
Workshop of Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff | View of Constantinople - Golden Horn (Istanbul), with fire falling from the sky; Meteorite falling near Ensisheim, Alsace, in 1492 | 1493 | Image and original data from The Warburg Institute Library
Krasnojarsk Meteorite | Found 1749| Yeniseisk, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History; peabody.yale.edu
Krasnojarsk Meteorite | Found 1749| Yeniseisk, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History; peabody.yale.edu
Paul Sandby | The Meteor of August 18, 1783, as seen from the East Angle of the North Terrace, Windsor Castle | 1783 | Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Paul Sandby | The Meteor of August 18, 1783, as seen from the East Angle of the North Terrace, Windsor Castle | 1783 | Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Search for meteor* (the asterisk wildcard will lead to all results starting with meteor, including meteors and meteorites), and for comet* if, like us, you want to see even more flying objects.