Norwegian impact?

By Phil Plait | June 9, 2006 12:45 pm

Was Norway hit by a meteorite yesterday? I’m not sure. It was reported by a Norwegian news site, which also posted the image from eyewitness Peter Bruvold shown above (note– it’s summer in Norway, so the sky is bright even at 2:00 a.m.).

He saw the fireball, then a few minutes later heard a loud explosion. This was also recorded on seismographs! It’s possible the thing blew up high in the atmosphere; the shock wave would make seismographs twitch. Or it might have hit the ground (which is what the article claims). Or it might be unrelated to the meteorite, but that seems unlikely at this point.

The news report is a little sketchy. I’ve dealt with things like this before, and most of the time they turn out to be false alarms, but this one looks to be more lucid and more likely than most. Astronomers in Norway are looking into it, and I expect they’ll mount an expedition right away to look for any meteorites.

I’ll post more when I hear more.’

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Science

Comments (34)

Links to this Post

  1. | June 13, 2006
  1. Evolving Squid

    Anyone want to make a pool on how long before Eric Julien claims that it is a pieces of 73P that aliens dropped it on Norway to demonstrate how awesome they are?

  2. Berkeley

    Wohooo! Finally a post about Norway!

    ES: I can make the claim. I’m actually an alien, the one who was dropped.

  3. blizno

    It’s estimated to have exploded with about the same energy as the A-bomb used against Hiroshima. Surely that would leave an obvious scar of flattened trees, if nothing else, unless it hit water. Satellite pictures should easly see the damage if it hit land.

  4. dude

    I’m just puzzled how this devil’s messenger could be 3 days late? 😉

  5. Actually, a Hiroshima explosion high enough up wouldn’t do much. But the article says it hit a mountainside! This is one reason I don’t like to speculate too much– there isn’t enough info to get an informed opinion.

  6. Joe

    Maybe it’s the advance recon team from planet X? I know next to nothing about the area – but you would think that the Norwegian Gov’t could send a plane(s) for an immediate flyover.

  7. J. D. Mack

    dude said “I’m just puzzled how this devil’s messenger could be 3 days late? ”

    Jimi Hendirx gave us a clue with “If 6 Was 9.”

    He knew, he knew!

    J. D.

  8. Tim G

    I think there may have been a Hiroshima-scale blast at high altitude and perhaps a large fragment hit a mountainside. Reporters can give the wrong impression if they pull information from witnesses giving unprepared statements. Seismometers can register sonic booms.

  9. There’s supposed to be an impact site of at least a fragment, a photo of which may be found here:

    Kjetil Aakra

  10. Tom K

    Amazing. Nine comments on the Bad Astronomy forum and 285 on Plus the news item was posted there a day earlier.

  11. Tom, the fark page shows the news posted at Fri, 09 Jun 2006 at 2:12 PM and BA Blog shows Friday, June 9, 2006 at 12:45 pm – now I don’t know what time zones each represents – but that doesn’t seem like Fark was a day earlier (unless it uses the first time zone west of the International Date Line).


  12. Joshua

    I think the conclusion is that BA readers like to know what they’re talking about before they say anything. Fark is under no such restraint. 😉

  13. Henrik

    There’s apparently a price tag on pieces of that alledged meteorite of upwards of 100 000 kroner according to an article at
    Perhaps I should try and secure a year’s worth of income… Norway’s just next doors anyway.

  14. Hawk one

    I’ve checked the University of Oslo’s web pages on this astronomer, where the famous (at least in Norway) astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed ØdegÃ¥rd has given a briefing of the event. Unfortunately, I didn’t find an English version (perhaps I just suck at looking, though)

    He doesn’t make any conclusions about whether this particular meteorite hit the ground or exploded up in the atmosphere, though it seems that he thinks it’s so far more likely that it’s the latter. He’s also talking about some eye witness reporting, who claims that the light shone so brightly that it actually lightened up the area… Which is a pretty damn impressive thing when you’ve already got a midnight sun going.

    The reason it’s not yet found is most likely because the area it fell in is basically not having much people nearby. North Norway in particular has huge patches of land more or less uninhabitated. (As a whole, there’s roughly 13 people per square kilometre… But most of them live in Southern Norway)

    Unfortunately, this has got far less space in the mainstream media here than it should, so I can’t tell you much more than you probably already knew, Phil.

  15. prideri

    anyone looking at the sky tonight?

  16. prideri

    very boring compared to the metorite/ tsunami/ end of the world chat- lol – but i see eithr a planet or the brightest star i’ve ever seen in the western sky tonight. looking for someone with more experience {99% of the world population} to tell me what i’m looking at. also i was watching what i thought was a satelite { very distant, moving steadily, barely visible } moving eastward, right overhead. But it’s direction changed to northeast. I don’t believe in flying saucers. what might do that? way too high to be a plane. the shuttle isn’t out. do satelites change direction? or just orbit straight around. I’ve seen satelites before {i figure } ANYONE?? thanks, lou

  17. Evolving Squid

    I don’t know where you are in the world, but at 9:47 PM pacific time, Jupiter was in the south-west sky with (according to Starry Night) an apparent magnitude of -2.38, which would pretty much be brighter than anything other than the nearly full (waxing gibbous) moon.

    Odds are, a steadily moving, barely visible object is a satellite.

  18. Evolving Squid

    er, more correctly, Jupiter was in the SW sky where I am, and if it wasn’t cloudy and pouring rain where I am, I could have seen it.

  19. Fark gets hundreds of times the readers I do. Literally. A link from Fark can bring down a site.

  20. I am so terribly out of touch. . . is “being farked” the new and punningly appropriate way of saying “being slashdotted”?

  21. prideri

    folks, thanks alot. my sister said today it was probably jupiter. i’m in new york – not the best place to starwatch – but i always look up. get most of my fix from cosmos, nova, and the like. thanks for the help, LL

  22. Evolving Squid

    I’m not grossly far from NYC, so the view in my Starry Night would be pretty similar :)

  23. Evolving Squid

    Here’s a view of the sky for this morning at 12:47 AM local time (when you were posting):

    Looking Northeast

    Looking Northwest (notice the COSMOS satellite high in the western sky of this one – it’s magnitude 1-ish probably moving east, but I didn’t run it for long enough to notice)

    Looking Southwest

    Looking Southeast

  24. Stuart Greig

    A follow up in the norwegian newspaper, Aftenposten, english pages website:


  25. ttt

    I find it hard to believe that this was actually photographed. Should have been there and gone in a matter of seconds, no time to get a camera and a decent exposure.
    Actually that image looks much more like an Iridium flare to me.
    I mean, the event might still be for real… it was (was it?) captured by seismographs after all. But that photo…

  26. Evolving Squid

    Ham radio operators bounce radio signals off meteor trails… photographing them should be easy by comparison :)

  27. Could it be the Tritonian retaliation for us dropping a probe on their largest city? They’ve obviously targeted frozen Norway, one of the only places on this boiling planet cool enough to support life.

  28. I’ve seen (many years ago) SOMETHING which I presumed to be a meteor, in daylight, crossing the sky from south to north, finally fading into the red and vanishing well before the horizon. No pictures I’m afraid, but it didn’t move that fast.

  29. Kim

    I want to know more about the “Angry hare attacked dogsled” story down at the bottom of the Norwegian news page.

  30. Stuart

    Oh we have some better than that, check out

    “Moose surfed on chunk of ice”
    “Train rams into reindeer herd”
    “Quarrel erupts over use of national costume in the skies”

    or the best one
    “Cows rampage in Norway”


  31. Mountain Queen

    I’m amazed at some of the statements of other websites. I found a conspiracy page where someone thought there had been a failure to communicate the danger of this meteor to the public. Huh? Including a comment that shocked me that they didn’t know it was daylight in Norway at 2 AM. A list of objects may not exist, but some of these folk would be shocked to know what misses our planet on a regular basis.

  32. bob

    I heard that the meteorite hit Norway on Wednesday, June 7 at 2 AM. That means it was still 6/6/06 in the Western Hemisphere. interesting.

  33. Stuart

    And another one a month later

    Its hardly safe to go our your front door now. :-)


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