Norway skydiver dodges meteorite
Skydivers know what they do is dangerous, but they don’t expect falling meteorites. Anders Helstrup, from the Oslo Parachute Club, caught this rare footage of a large chunk of space rock hurtling past.
Anders Helstrup and several others had just jumped out of a small plane after taking off from Østre Æra Airport in Hedmark county when it happened.
“I got the feeling that there was something, but I didn’t register what was happening,” Helstrup told NRK about the event, which took place back in 2012.
But the camera fixed to his helmet was recording non-stop.
“When we stopped the film, we could clearly see something that looked like a stone. At first it crossed my mind that it had been packed into a parachute, but it’s simply too big for that.”
“We’ve thought of all possible scenarios, like could it have been packed in the equipment? Or something falling from a plane? Or something belonging to he other flyers?” he added.
But at that moment, “nothing’s above me or near me,” he said.
Geologist Hans Amundsen confirmed to Norway’s NRK channel that a meteorite had indeed exploded some 20 kilometres above the earth’s surface on the day of that jump. He said he believed that the object was an fragment of a meteorite in its last “dark flight” or “post-incandescence phase”.
“This is the first time in history that a meteorite has been filmed in the air when it is no longer emitting any light,” Amundsen said. “It’s certainly much less likely than winning the lottery three times in a row.”
The incident took place in June 2012 in southern Norway and the region has since been combed to find the space rock.
After the video went viral on social media on Friday, experts appeared doubtful.
“I’m more than a little sceptical of this story, but it’s not entirely ridiculous,” astronomer Scott Manley said on Twitter. “If I were going full tinfoil hat I’d say that it’s an easy thing to add to a video. I hope they find the rock on the ground.”
“I can’t say if it’s real or not … Seems unlikely though,” said Phil Plait, an astronomy blogger.