Fireball strikes land in southern Norway

Unsuspecting witnesses looked on agog on Thursday evening as a flaming ball of fire lit up the night sky before making landfall in southern Norway.

Fireball strikes land in southern Norway
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Astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard was with his family in Hadeland when he caught sight of the sizzling sphere, which may have resulted from a meteorite's unpleasant encounter with the earth’s atmosphere.

“The fireball disintegrated almost like a New Year's firework and pieces of it sprinkled down as it flickered out. The light from the fireball was so strong that it lit up the entire terrain,” he said in an email to news agency NTB.

Ødegaard and his wife Anne Mette Sanne, both seasoned meteorite hunters, told newspaper Aftenposten they had already received some 400 emails from others who had caught a glimpse of the flying object.

They were busy on Friday cross-referencing the information they had received in an attempt to find out where the presumed meteorite hit land.

"It was also seen in Kristiansand and Bergen but there were very few people who heard the boom," Sannes told the newspaper.

"We rarely hear it ourselves so it's fun that we got to experience that for once."

Police in the Northern Buskerud district included the blazing orb in Thursday evening's incident log. From a vantage point in Norefjell, one person reported seeing a fireball trailed by a tail and generating a powerful light.

Shortly after 8.30pm, the witness heard a boom as the meteorite entered the earth's atmosphere. .

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Partial lunar eclipse to be visible over parts of Norway

People in parts of Norway may be able to witness a partial lunar eclipse on Friday. 

Pictured is a lunar eclipse
Friday will see a partial lunar eclipse over Norway. Pictured is a lunar eclipse. Photo by Roger Starnes Sr on Unsplash

On Friday morning, the sun, the earth and the moon will align, causing a partial lunar eclipse. Friday’s celestial showcase will be an almost total lunar eclipse, with only a tiny part of the moon not ending up in the earth’s shadow. 

The eclipse will be most visible at 10:03am, when 98 percent of the moon will be in shadow. 

The moon will take on a reddish tinge as sunlight that passes through the earth’s atmosphere will be refracted back onto the moon. 

People in the north of Norway will have the best eclipse experience because the moon doesn’t go down until later in the morning at higher latitudes. The weather will also be better further north, according to forecasts. 

Residents of east and west Norway hoping for a show may have their views hindered by clouds. 

“If you are lucky, you’ll be able to see it from several parts of the country,” Randveig Eikhild from the Meteorological Institute told public broadcaster NRK

The best place to see the eclipse will be somewhere with a good clear view of the horizon, without mountains, hills or buildings in the way. 

For those in the south, where the view may not be the best due to the brighter mornings, there’s another celestial event on Friday that they will be able to witness. 

Once the sun goes down, gas giants Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the night sky and very close together. Saturn won’t be visible from the north, however. 

“Jupiter and Saturn are quite close to each other and are beautiful in the fall. However, they are not always as close as they are now. It can be a very nice sight,” Pål Brekke, from the Norwegian Space Centre, explained to NRK.