News

Massive meteorite lands 60km off Norway’s capital, Oslo

On Sunday, cameras captured footage of an oversized meteor lighting up the sky over Norway’s capital, Oslo.

Meteors are not uncommon in Norway. However, the size and light show of Sunday’s meteor astonished locals.

Experts estimate that the meteorite landed in the large forest area, Finnemarka, about 60km from Oslo.

Image: BBC

Appearing at around 1:00 am local time (9:00 am AEST), the meteor was visible for at least 5 seconds as it lit up the night sky.

The Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR) confirmed that the meteorite hit the ground, and noted that: “We do not yet know for sure the size of meteor. It could be a rock weighing a few hundred kilograms, but we only expect a small part of this body to have reached the ground“.

“Our preliminary analysis suggests that it entered Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of about 15 km/s and it fragmented in a series of bright flashes between 35 and 25 km above ground,” he said.

A meteor is a space rock that begins to burn upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere. A meteorite is a meteor that reaches the Earth’ surface, as many meteors burn up completely before touching the ground.

Morten Bilet, of the Norwegian Meteor Network, stated that debris from the meteor is yet to be located. Given the size of Finnemarka, he added, locating debris may take “some 10 years” to find.

What we had last night was a large rock travelling likely from between Mars and Jupiter, which is our asteroid belt. And when that whizzes in, it creates a rumble, light and great excitement among us and maybe some fear among others,” Mr Bilet said.

Doors and hatches were blown open and there were gusts of wind. No damage has been reported, though,” he reported.

NORAR’s Steinar Midstkogen highlighted the uniqueness of the particular meteor, “its orbit seems to have been confined to the innermost part of the solar system…This would make a recovery of meteorites very valuable for science.