Meteor lights up Norwegian night sky

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 20 Nov, 2022 Updated Sun 20 Nov 2022 18:18 CEST
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Illustration photo. Michał Mancewicz, Unsplash

A meteor that lit up the night sky over southwest Norway as it burned up in the atmosphere was from the Taurid meteor shower, experts said on Sunday.

The unusually bright meteor -- called a bolide -- was visible from large parts of southern Norway when it lit up the sky just after 7pm on Saturday evening.

"It was very powerful, and burned up completely in the atmosphere," Morten Bilet, founder of Norwegian Meteor Network (Norsk meteornettverk), told AFP.

As the meteor burnt up, a flash shimmered in multiple colours across the sky, sparking a string of puzzled calls to police.

"It suddenly became bright, so I thought at first it was a car driving on high beam. But then I looked up at the sky and there was a massive light that shot across the sky with a long, blue tail behind it," 27-year-old eyewitness Per Skram told broadcaster NRK.

Espen Solhaug from Bergen was sitting outside with his wife, looking at the starry sky. As he went to put a new log in the fire pit, the sky lit up behind him.

"At first I thought it was a helicopter. It was an enormous light," Solhaug told Norwegian paper VG, where he shared video footage of the meteor, captured by his doorbell camera.

Ingvild Ramstad was looking at the starry sky in Eidsbugarden and described her "enormous experience" to VG.

"Suddenly the ground lit up with green light and I was a little scared. I thought, what is going on? I turned and saw a huge green pillar of light to the west, and there was no shooting star. It was wild. I have never seen anything like it and probably won't see it again", she said.

"The police has been in contact with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, which assumes it may have been a meteorite," the southern regional police force said on Twitter.

The Norwegian Meteor Network said that many people had associated the meteor with the Leonid meteor shower, which is currently active.

"But this bolide belongs to another swarm that is also active at the same time -- the northern Taurids," the organisation said on its website.

"The Taurids do not produce as many meteors as the Leonids but the Taurids occasionally produce very powerful meteors, like this one," it added.

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AFP/The Local 2022/11/20 18:18

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