Meteor wows Norway after blazing through night sky

By Joshua Nevett
BBC News

media captionWatch: Meteor lights up sky in Norway

Norwegians have been left awestruck by a bright meteor that illuminated the night sky in the country's south-east.

Footage shows powerful flashes of light over Norway, followed by what witnesses described as loud bangs on Sunday.

Norwegian police say they received a flurry of emergency calls but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

A team of experts are hunting for the meteorite, which they believe landed in a forest near the capital, Oslo.

A meteor is a space rock that burns brightly after entering Earth's atmosphere at high speed. It becomes known as a meteorite if it survives its passage to the ground.

The Norwegian Meteor Network says Sunday's fireball was visible for at least five seconds after it appeared at about 01:00 local time (23:00 GMT).

Travelling at about 16.3km/s (nearly 36,500mph), the meteor could be seen over large parts of southern Scandinavia, the network says.

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Norwegian astronomer Vegard Rekaa has told the BBC his wife was awake at the time. She could hear "shaking in the air" before an explosion she assumed was something heavy falling near the house.

Mr Rekaa woke up, he said, to "fantastic" videos of the meteor, which was "something very seldom seen" in Norway or anywhere in the world.

A team of experts have been sent to the area where the meteor is suspected to have landed, he added.

Initial research suggests thespace rock may have hit the ground in a wooded area called Finnemarka, about 60km (40 miles) west of Oslo.

One group of campers reported "a large explosion just above their heads", Mr Rekaa said.

A female camper told him of seeing the fireball from a short distance but thinking it was her friends playing a trick on her.

Analysis of the meteor suggests it could have weighed at least 10kg (22lb).

While not astonishingly large, the meteor was special because so many people either heard or saw it, Mr Rekaa said.

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His colleague at the Norwegian Meteor Network, Morten Bilet, was among the witnesses.

He told Reuters news agency the meteor had probably hit our solar system's asteroid belt as it was travelling between Mars and Jupiter.

Mr Bilet described it as a "spooky" event, rather than a dangerous one.

Such meteor strikes are rare, but one did cause widespread damage and injure at least 1,600 people when it crashed down in Russia's Ural Mountains in 2013.

media captionEyewitnesses and CCTV cameras captured the moment the Chelyabinsk meteor flew across the sky

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