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'Fireball' spotted as possible meteor lands in northern Norway

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'Fireball' spotted as possible meteor lands in northern Norway
An unrelated file photo showing the Northern Lights over the town of Karasjok in Finnmark county. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix
12:35 CET+01:00
A strong flash of light which may have been caused by a small meteor was seen over Norway's northern Finnmark county on Thursday night.

After several people reported the incident to police, experts have said that they believe the object may have been a fireball, reports newspaper VG.

“We received around 30 telephone reports within a few minutes. [The callers] said they saw a white light in the sky. People think it was close to them, but the calls came from [relatively distant locations, ed.] Vadsø, Alta and Kautokeino,” police operation leader Jan-Olav Schjølberg of Finnmark Police District told VG.

The flash lasted for between three or four seconds, according to a witness report given to local media iFinnmark.

“It was crazy. At first it looked like a normal shooting star. Then there lights in all different colours,” Stian Mathisen, a resident of the town of Lakselv, told the media.

“It lasted probably three to four seconds. I thought about taking a picture, but I was too fascinated,” he added.

The phenomenon was also sighted over Finland, from where a reported video of the incident was posted on YouTube by Johannes Karhula.

Finnmark Police also issued a request via Twitter for famous astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard to contact them.

“He knows a little more about things that fall from the skies than us,” Schjølberg told VG.

Ødegaard told newspaper Dagbladet that the sighting was no cause for concern.

“It was probably a fireball,” Ødegaard and wife Anne Mette Sannes, who run astronomy site Astroevents, said.

Morten Bilet of the Norsk Meteornettverk (Norwegian Meteor Network) organisation said he believed the sighting was of a meteorite.

“There's no doubt it is a large stone – a meteorite heading towards the mountain. They shine so brightly that they are called fireballs, and it explodes several times on its way down,” Bilet told VG.

Bilet added that it may be possible to measure the object's size, speed and where in space it came from once more information is known.

The object may have come from the Leonids meteor shower, according to iFinnmark's report.

Sightings of the object were reported at around 5:40pm on Thursday. Finnmark Police received no reports of any accidents related to the incident.

READ ALSO: Meteor showers on way to Norway skies

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