Scientists stunned by Oslo meteorite find

Space watchers in Norway expressed major excitement on Monday after a meteorite ripped through the roof of a hut in an Oslo allotment garden.

Scientists stunned by Oslo meteorite find
Meteorite hunters Anne Mette Sannes and Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard study the rock (Photo: Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix)

“We were there yesterday and first saw the hole in the roof. Then we saw the stone lying five or six metres away,” the cabin’s owner, Rune Thomassen, told newspaper VG.

He was unable to say when the snowball-sized rock had fallen to earth since the cabin had been unused for some time.

The discovery of the 585-gram meteorite has already awakened interest in the scientific community.

Astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard was initially cautious, but his uncertainty gave way to jubilation on seeing the rock with his own eyes on Monday morning.

"This is an absolutely incredible find. I almost can't believe it. It's unique. It's doubly unique," he told VG.

Ødegaard said the rock most likely originated from a meteor spotted over Norway by numerous observers, including himself and his wife, Anne Mette Sannes, on March 1st.

"We've had hundreds of tips and have been searching for fragments all over the country and then we find it here in Oslo! You can tell immediately that it's genuine from the burned crust, and you can also recognize it from how rough and unusual it is. It gives me goosebumps," he said.

His enthusiasm was shared by geophysicist Hans Amundsen, a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. 

“This is a very rare meteorite because you can see from the cut of it that it contains fragments from many different kinds of rock that have cemented together, forming a so-called breccia,” said

Breccia is formed by a meteorite colliding with different rock types on another planet before a new collision sends the pieces flying into space, Amundsen said.

“This find will attract attention from all over the world,” he told VG.

Norway has registered just 14 meteorite finds since 1848, the last one coming six years ago in Moss in the south-east of the country.

See also: Fireball strikes land in southern Norway

Photo: Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix

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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.