Record meteorite hit NorwayAs Wednesday morning dawned, northern Norway was hit with an impact comparable to the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima.
At around 2:05 a.m. on Wednesday, residents of the northern part of Troms and the western areas of Finnmark could clearly see a ball of fire taking several seconds to travel across the sky.
A few minutes later an impact could be heard and geophysics and seismology research foundation NORSAR registered a powerful sound and seismic disturbances at 02:13.25 a.m. at their station in Karasjok.
Farmer Peter Bruvold was out on his farm in Lyngseidet with a camera because his mare Virika was about to foal for the first time.
"I saw a brilliant flash of light in the sky, and this became a light with a tail of smoke," Bruvold told Aftenposten.no. He photographed the object and then continued to tend to his animals when he heard an enormous crash.
"I heard the bang seven minutes later. It sounded like when you set off a solid charge of dynamite a kilometer (0.62 miles) away," Bruvold said.
Astronomers were excited by the news.
"There were ground tremors, a house shook and a curtain was blown into the house," Norway's best known astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard told Aftenposten.no.
Røed Ødegaard said the meteorite was visible to an area of several hundred kilometers despite the brightness of the midnight sunlit summer sky. The meteorite hit a mountainside in Reisadalen in North Troms.
"This is simply exceptional. I cannot imagine that we have had such a powerful meteorite impact in Norway in modern times. If the meteorite was as large as it seems to have been, we can compare it to the Hiroshima bomb. Of course the meteorite is not radioactive, but in explosive force we may be able to compare it to the (atomic) bomb," Røed Ødegaard said.
The astronomer believes the meteorite was a giant rock and probably the largest known to have struck Norway.
"The record was the Alta meteorite that landed in 1904. That one was 90 kilos (198 lbs) but we think the meteorite that landed Wednesday was considerably larger," Røed Ødegaard said, and urged members of the public who saw the object or may have found remnants to contact the Institute of Astrophysics.
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[meteorite-list] Norway Meteorite Impact Site Believed to be FoundRon Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Jun 12 13:52:35 EDT 2006
Here's where the meteorite hit
June 12, 2006
Residents of the Norwegian county of Nord-Troms were shaken when a
meteorite struck the valley of Reisadalen last week. Experts are
debating its impact, but they've found the site where it hit the ground.
This is where last week's meteorite is believed to
have hit Norway, at Reisadalen, east of Tromsø.
PHOTO: OLA SOLVANG / NORDLYS
An astronomer at the University of Oslo, Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, told
Aftenposten.no last week that he thought the meteorite that was
photographed streaking through the sky could have had the same impact as
the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945.
"Of course the meteorite is not radioactive, but in explosive force we
may be able to compare it to the (atomic) bomb," Røed Ødegaard said.
Truls Lynne Hansen of the Northern Lights Observatory
(Nordlysobservatoriet) in Tromsø disputes Røed Ødegaard's description,
calling it an exaggeration.
"Our atmosphere is peppered with small stones from outer space all the
time," Hansen told newspaper Aftenposten. "Most burn up and disappear,
but some land here."
He thinks that what hit northern Norway last week was a stone weighing
around 12 kilos (about 26 pounds). "Out in space it generated enormous
speed, but after entering our atmosphere its tempo eased," Hansen said.
"This kind of meteorite isn't radioactive and it's not glowing when it
hits the ground."
The meteorite, whatever its size, created a stir nonetheless. Norway's
Defense Ministry tries to track all flying objects and be prepared via
radar on land, at sea and in the air.
"We can observe such meteorites," said John Espen Lien of the northern
military command in Bodø. "But everything happens so fast, and most of
them disappear before they hit the ground."
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Astronomer apologizes for meteorite fussA professor at the Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo has issued an editorial apology for what he called "exaggerated explosive force" linked to reports of the recent meteorite strike in Norway.
The story of the meteorite impact in northern Norway made international headlines, no doubt due to the comparison with the force of the atom bomb detonated over Hiroshima.
In an editorial at Norwegian science news site forskning.no, Professor Kaare Aksnes said it was regrettable that this comparison had been made, and that it was extremely exaggerated. Aksnes also said it was regrettable that the statement had apparently emanated from the Institute.
Aksnes goes on to explain that a meteor capable of a Hiroshima-like impact would almost completely burn up as it entered Earth's atmosphere, and that the remnants would hit the earth far too slowly - though impacts of that intensity have of course occurred. He estimates the North Troms impact to have been comparable to "a powerful conventional bomb".
The original reactions to the witness reports of the meteor, also reported on forskning.no, are attributed to popular astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, and were slightly guarded and very excited. Røed Ødegaard wrote the original report about the meteorite on the Institute's web site.
"We cannot be completely sure, but the light and sound phenomena were exceptional. It indicates that there has been a great deal of energy involved," Røed Ødegaard said then.
Seismic research center NORSAR registered powerful sound phenomena at their Karasjok measuring station, as well as seismic disturbances.
"We have run out of words for how exciting this is," Røed Ødegaard said at the time.
"There is midnight sun in the area and objects in the sky must therefore shine very strongly to be visible at all. The object is descried as a reddish ball of fire and lit up like a powerful flash. The brightness must have been exceptional," Røed Ødegaard said.
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Publisher: Aftenposten Multimedia A/S, Oslo, Norway. Telephone: +47 - 22 86 30
00.All rights, including copyright and database right, are owned by or licensed
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