Friday, April 4, 2014

Meteor Almost Smashes Into Norwegian Skydiver

In the summer of 2012, a Norwegian guy named Anders Helstrup decided to go skydiving.
A still from Anders Helstrup's 2012 skydiving video
in which meteor zipped past him during his descent.  

Like many skydivers, he had a camera attached to him to catch the drama of his descent to the ground. Those videos are always fun.

But what was that little black thing that whizzed by him, that thing that was about the size of a softball? That almost hit him?

A bird? More likely something that fell out of an airplane high above him that he didn't see?  He wasn't sure, but it was odd.

His camera caught that thing going by. It looked like a stone. He eventually showed it to geologist Hans Amunsden.

Turns out Helstrup was almost hit by a meteorite. And he was almost the unluckiest person on the planet, as had the meteorite hit Helstrup, it would have sliced him in half.

The chances are super tiny that a meteorite would occupy the same speck of the earth's atmosphere at the same time a skydiver with a camera was occupying that same speck of atmosphere, but there you go.

You can see for yourself the video of this at the bottom of the post.

First, we need to explain things a bit more.

It all seems way to farfetched to be true, but scientists who have studied Helstrup's video say there's no other explanation. It was a meteorite zipping past the camera lens.  This, apparently, is no belated April Fools Day joke.

But don't meteors burn and light up the sky as the enter the earth's atmosphere?

Yup. But after they get down to a certain elevation, the fire goes out and they go into what is called "dark flight."

According to the Norwegian news agency NRK:

"When a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it slows down and ionizes molecules around it; it is this blazing track across the sky that is called a meteor.

When the light disappears, the meteorite enters the state called "dark flight;" it then no longer travels at an angle, but falls straight down."

'It has never happened before that a meteorite has been filmed during dark flight; this is the first time in world history,' said Amundsen." (the geologist)

Analysis of the video, which shows part of the rock as a sphere, part of it recently fractured, as a classic meteorite, Amundsen said.

Helstrup and the geologists kept this whole thing hush hush for the past couple of years because they were hunting for the meteor on the ground and didn't want the hunt screwed up.

But so far, they haven't found it, so now they've opened up the search to the public by releasing this information.

Here's the video. It's a report by NRK, and it's in Norwegian so you won't understand what's said, but you'll definitely get the gist, and see the meteor:

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