sverdlovsk meteor

UFO? Meteorite? What The Heck Just Exploded In The Sky Over Russia’s Sverdlovsk Region? [UPDATE: That’s No Meteor]

[UPDATE BELOW] Something big and bright recently exploded in the sky over Russia’s Sverdlovsk region, but this doesn’t look like your typical meteor explosion. Fortunately for us, it was all captured on several Russian dashboard cameras.

The Sverdlovsk explosion happened on November 14, but it’s taken a while to filter out to the rest of the internet. Still, it’s started popping up all over, and E1 got ahold of two solid videos that show the strange orange glow that makes the pitch black sky suddenly look like it’s on fire.

One video poster, according to E1, marked the explosion as happening at precisely 17:40 local time on November 14. Another video, which doesn’t mark the time, documents the same massive illumination of the night sky.

It’s all caught on camera, thanks to the ubiquity of Russian dashboard cameras, which many rely on in that country in order to stave off possible insurance fraud. Once again, we all benefit from everyday life in Russia

So just what is the source of the glow? UFO? The Rapture? Weather balloon reflecting swamp gas and light from Venus? Initial speculation centers on it being a meteorite, kind of like the one that shattered windows and shocked residents nearby when it exploded over Chelyabinsk last year. That meteor caused tons of damage and quite a few injuries, but it could have been worse had it been larger and actually impacted on the ground.

Why the big, bright glow? Some are pointing to atmospheric conditions as the cause.

“Hydrogen and oxygen burning in the air,” says one commenter on Reddit, “as the charged meteorite moved through the atmosphere.”

Sounds legit, no?

UPDATE: Some observers have noted that the explosion might not have been a meteor. As NBC News points out, Marco Langroek of the Dutch Meteor Society is quite skeptical.

“I doubt this one is a meteor,” he told one meteor-watching blog. “To me, it looks like a flare or series of small explosions and subsequent large explosion or flash fire reflecting on a cloud deck.”

Other observers have noted that there is an old chemical plant outside the nearby town of Rezh. There have also been reports that the Russian military was setting off artillery nearby.