The great northern nation has been struck again! During the early morning hours on Saturday, April 19, around 2:10 a.m. to be exact, Russian commuters in the northern city of Murmansk got a real jolt as a suspected meteorite explosion in the night sky lit up the dark landscape before them. Dozens of residents from the 300,000 people city captured the moment the huge, glaring fireball trekked across the sky from their dash-cams, which were instantly shared via YouTube and other outlets.
The bright blue trail first arced overhead and then erupted like a firework into a blinding white-blue light. The majority of Russian observers have classified the object lighting up the night sky as a meteorite, however officials have neither confirmed the classification yet nor laid any claim to where the fallout debris and particles from the disturbance may have landed. There is speculation that the fireball may have been space refuse reentering the atmosphere.
Emergency officials have stated that there have been no reported injuries as a result the astral event from the outlying area.
According to scientists, tons of cosmic dust comes into connect with the Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis, and although meteorites that come into contact with the Earth’s surface may be as many as 500 per year, most being either undetectable or unseen, there is still not a precise calculation as to an exact number of occurrences.
Perhaps the most notable meteorite in recent history also came from Russia. Last year in February a glowing orb exploded in the sky over the Urals city of Chelyabinsk momentarily deafening and blinding hundreds of residents below. The astral body was said to be calculated as having the strength of 20-30 Hiroshima bombs. People as far away as 30 miles were reported as being “knocked off their porches” when they went outside to see about the curious light. The shockwave from the landing caused more than 1,600 injuries, shattered windows, knocked down walls, and resulted in millions of dollars in property damages.
Back in October, a giant chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteor, the size of a mini-fridge and weighing over a ton, was hefted out of a lake in central Russia. Finding a piece of refuse so large and dense caused a stirring of emotions of gratitude that no one walked away from the initial incident hurt more severely, and it also was a warning sign to “start thinking of planetary protection seriously,” according to geologist Denton Ebel from the American Museum of Natural History.
The Chelyabinsk strike was the largest recorded meteor event since an astral body struck a forested area in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908, which was considered a “cosmic impact catastrophe.” The radius of the event measured 600-1000 km, uprooting a documented 80 million trees. Fires in the forest broke out following the impact that were coined “unnatural,” unlike any other natural forest fire. Many of the trees and branches were scorched in standing position, bending away from the epicenter. Normally, trees would have remained vertical with noticeable fire damage starting at the base of the trunks. Aftermath of the strike included reports of “bright nighttime illumination,” which was so strong people could read their newspapers without any other light source. Initially Russia, due to internal political unrest and because the occurrence hit a remote area without any injuries, made no attempt to investigate and research the rare event. Later, a team of scientists united to travel through Siberia and collect subsequent data.
The latest meteorite sighting in the U.S. was early last November in the southwestern corner of the states. Reports of the astral globe, roughly the size and brightness of the moon but with corresponding flashes, were reported as far east as Phoenix and as far north as Salt Lake City, but the fireball’s appearance was most vibrant around San Diego County. The stunning spectacle was later classified as part of the Southern Taurids, an annual meteor shower that is usually visible in early November. There were reports of the meteorite lighting up the ground and mountains in the distance and the spectacle causing drivers to swerve and hit their brakes.
Although Russia seems to be the recipient of most witnessed astral events of late, it is worth noting that they are not alone or signaled out by the atmosphere’s fallout debris.
By Stacy Feder