VIDEO: ‘We can only hope it landed in water’- Norway hunts for signs of meteorite

Experts are on the hunt for a meteorite that left residents in South-East Norway awestruck on Sunday. 

VIDEO: 'We can only hope it landed in water'- Norway hunts for signs of meteorite
The meteor could be seen over Oslo. Photo by Ben Garratt on Unsplash

Locals and stargazers in Southern Norway were left dazzled when a meteor flashed through the sky in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Many in Oslo and the surrounding areas reported bright flashes of light in the night sky and loud bangs like thunder.

“Suddenly, we heard a rumble from the sky. We also saw flashes of light, and then we heard it slam. Shortly afterwards, we saw the cloud of dust rise up from where it had fallen,” Kristoffer Braathen, who saw the event from a fast food restaurant in Vikersund, told newspaper VG

The Norwegian Meteor Network said the space rock was visible for about five seconds and was travelling at about 16.3km/s per second (nearly 58,000 km/h). The meteor could be seen over large parts of southern Scandinavia.

A meteor is a space rock that burns brightly after entering the Earth’s atmosphere. If it survives the impact upon crash landing, then it becomes a meteorite. 

“We can only hope that it has hit a tree that slowed it down, hit a soft surface and dug into the ground, or landed in water or a bog,” meteorite expert Morten Bilet from the Norwegian Meteor Network told VG

Eyewitnesses and experts believe that the meteorite landed in Finnemarka, a nature reserve in Viken, South-East Norway. 

The task of tracking the meteor down could prove just as tricky as finding a needle in a haystack as the nature reserve, named after Finns that used to inhabit the forest, has an area of 430 square metres and has no roads.

Experts will now begin the painstaking process of analyzing video footage and making complex calculations to precisely locate where the meteorite could have landed.

“We need a few days to do our mathematical calculations. We will use video from different cameras to determine the meteor’s direction, drop angle, start height and end heigh. Then, maybe we will be able to narrow down the crash area to one or two square kilometres,” Bilet told the newspaper. 

The hunt for the meteorite, believed to weigh about ten kilos, roughly the same as a car tire, will continue until the autumn. 

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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.