Chelyabinsk Bolide art by Don Davis

[Update March 2nd from Don – (On FaceBook) “For all my full dome friends: I have two planetarium sequences to license, the last shuttle launch and the most recent total eclipse. Feel free to PM me about this. I am also available for new fulldome sequences.” I asked him: “Don, you also said you could animate your ‘Chelyabinsk Bolide,’ right?” and he replied “Yes!”

Update March 10th, – this meteor/meteorite/bolide/superbolide is now named the Chebarkul object: “dubbed Chebarkul after the small town and lake where some of the largest fragments have been found.”] Most still search for this with ‘russian meteor’ as their keywords.

Master astronomical artist and IAAA Member & Fellow Don Davis (Donald E. Davis) has used all of his considerable skills to illustrate the start of the Chelyabinsk bolide breakup. Don posted this to Facebook, and has given permission for non-commercial use of this stunning image/illustration/painting/digital painting if you credit him and link to his website at (This illustration isn’t posted there yet is now posted there with additional commentary by Don. Enjoy browsing through some of Don’s other art and writings, such as the K-T extinction asteroid impact from space and from sealevel)

Chelyabinsk bolide meteorite - Don Davis copyright Don Davis

Chelyabinsk Bolide image copyright Don Davis.  Don explains how he created this beautiful and terrifying image:

“My digital painting based on what info I have gathered of this event, seen from about 10 km altitude looking down on the city of Chelyabinsk. The maximum burst is just beginning, sending shock waves that will take over two minutes to reach the ground. The meteor is heading away from us with the Sun just risen from this altitude well off the left of the field of view.

A mosaic ‘template’ of the region was prepared and used as a texture map, then the perspective view rendered from this was used as a template for an entirely original view of the region using recent satellite photos as a guide, showing the extensive snow cover etc. The streets are lit with the morning commute although the lights overall are mainly off.”

Don’s most recent book illustrations are in Gregory Benford & Larry Niven’s larger-than-Ringworld sf novel Bowl of Heaven.’

There are good roundups of information and links about both the predicted asteroid flyby of 2014 DA14 and the unpredicted Chelyabinsk bolide at Clark Lindsay’s Space For All at HobbySpace newsblog and Alan Boyle’s CosmicLog.

Once again, we are reminded that one of the benefits of a space-faring society is creating a space construction infrastructure that might increase the chances to make an interception of an inbound rock.  Motto of the (not-yet-existant) Earth Defense Force: “To Detect and Deflect!


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One Response to “Chelyabinsk Bolide art by Don Davis”

  1. Space-for-All at HobbySpace » Says:

    […] Master space artist Don Davis has created a wonderful rendering of the Chelyabinsk fireball. For info on how he made it, see: Chelyabinsk Bolide art by Don Davis – Paradoxically by Paradox Olbers […]

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