A Huge Meteor Lights Up Norway's Night Sky

Residents woke up to a powerful shock wave that broke open windows and doors.
Ameya Paleja
Some in Norway were awake for this fireball in night skyNorway Meteor Network

You might be well aware of the Northern Lights that light up the Norwegian sky. But this Sunday, a huge fireball lit up the night sky, although, just for a few seconds. Residents in the northern part of the country woke up to a powerful shock wave that broke open windows and doors but no other major damage was reported. 

Sightings of meteors in the Norwegian sky aren't uncommon. Since its inception in 2013, The Norwegian Meteor Network has been working to ensure that all meteors that fall in Norwegian borders are meteorites, meteors that survive the journey through the Earth's atmosphere and make it to the ground, are acquired by the Natural History Museum, cataloged and studied in a scientific manner. It also operates an active system that monitors the sky for meteors 24x7. 

The Meteor network released a video and images of the Sunday event. 

After analyzing videos, the Network confirmed that the meteor appeared about 56 miles (90 km), above Kjerkeberget in Nordmarka, a highly forested region, north of the capital city of Oslo. It proceeded in a south-westerly direction before disintegrating with several flashes of light and a shock wave over Solli and Holsfjorden area, west of Oslo. During this time, the meteor traveled at speed of 35,000 miles per hour (16 km per second), the BBC reported.  

It is estimated that the meteor passed 14 miles (23 km) above the ground a few miles west of Sylling, but smaller fragments of the meteor could've traveled further into the Finnemarka area. The flight path of smaller fragments is affected by winds that the Network has still not investigated and the path could be off by a few miles. 

Tracking back its origin, the meteor does not appear to have originated in the Main Asteroid Belt between planets Mars and Jupiter. Instead, its orbit is similar to that of Earth, astronomically known as the Orbit of Aten. Orbits of asteroids in this belt often cross Earth's making them potentially hazardous. 

The Meteor Network has urged hikers in the area to report findings of unusual rock pieces that might seem out of place for scientific assessment while assuring that due credit will be given to the finder. An uncatalogued meteorite has little value, the network has declared. 

Not all meteors blow up in the sky, some leave marks that remain for years to come.   

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