A flaming ball of fire was spotted in the Thursday night sky above Arctic Finland. With “the glow of 100 moons,” the fiery meteor crashed down somewhere in Finland around 6:40 p.m., producing a significant blast that was seen for miles.
Scientists calculate the space rock was traveling northeast as it zoomed through the atmosphere and likely landed near where Finland borders Russia and Norway. Now, they are searching throughout Arctic Finland on a quest to recover the meteorite.
“We believe it didn’t disintegrate but reached a remote corner of Finland,” said Tomas Kohout of the University of Helsinki’s physics department, as reported by USA Today. “We are happy to recover [it] since this is a unique opportunity to get otherwise inaccessible space material.”
With an estimated weight of 220 pounds, the fiery shooting star was probably part of the meteor shower known as the Leonids, according to Viktor Troshenkov with the Russian Academy of Sciences. With the Leonids typically peaking this time of year, there were likely many more meteors Thursday night, but many were missed due to cloud cover. Kohout said the meteor witnessed over Arctic Finland was possibly “one of the brightest ones.”
Every 33 years the Leonids appear in the sky with greater intensity. In 1998, the last time they hit a maximum concentration, astronomers witnessed nearly 1,000 meteors and one blazing fireball over the Arctic in one night. Most smaller meteors burn up before ever touching the ground.
Reaching a speed over 33,000 MPH, a 10-ton meteor raced across the Russian sky in 2013. Before reaching the ground, the object exploded with a force more powerful than an atomic bomb. Breaking into dozens of pieces, the rock blasted apart roughly 30 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Per a report from Stuff, the violent explosion shattered windows and injured over 1,000 people. The majority of the injuries were from flying glass as people gathered near windows to witness the blazing ball in the sky.
While the super-bright meteor that fell over Arctic Finland was spectacular and briefly turned night into day, it did not cause any reported injuries. Anticipating an opportunity to study the space rock, it is just a matter of time before scientists find the landing spot and dig it out of the ground.
[Featured Image by Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock]