The fireball that streaked across the skies above Chelyabinsk in Russia on 15 February 2013 is providing astronomers with a wealth of information. Two papers in this issue present detailed reconstructions of the Chelyabinsk event. From an analysis of videos, Jiř� Borovička et al. determined the trajectory and velocity of the superbolide with high precision. Its orbit was similar to that of the 2-kilometre-diameter asteroid 86039 (1999 NC43), suggesting that the two bodies may be part of the same asteroid family. And they show that it broke into small pieces between the altitudes of 45 and 30 kilometres. In the companion paper, Peter Brown et al. analysed the damage caused by the airburst which they estimate was equivalent in energy to the detonation of 400 to 600 kilotons of TNT. They suggest that the number of impactors with diameters of tens of metres was an order of magnitude higher than current estimates, shifting much of the residual impact risk to these sizes. On the cover, a 3D simulation by Mark Boslough using CTH code on Sandia National Laboratories� Red Sky supercomputer, rendered by Brad Carvey using Houdini FX and LightWave; background photo by Olga Kluglova, go.nature.com/wxuV58.