[meteorite-list] Possible Fireball Sighting in Finland
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 10:30:21 -0800 (PST)
Bright flash arouses speculation - could it have been a meteorite?
February 3, 2014
Separate fireball observations early Sunday morning have caused some to
wonder whether a meteorite may have landed in Finland. The Ursa Astronomical
Association says a meteorite hasn't been recovered in Finland for decades.
Ursa's Marko Pekkola says that as of yet, there is no certainty whether
the flash was the result of a fireball, but the presumption is strong.
"We only see two or three fireballs that bright each year. Finland hasn't
collected a meteorite that has fallen to the Earth in over 40 years, so
it would be fantastically great to find one," he says.
Cloud lightening or fireball?
A fireball is formed when an object falls to the Earth from space, for
example, when a stone the size of a fist reaches the Earth's atmosphere.
The flash on Sunday morning was captured by two different fireball cameras,
one in Helsinki and the other in Siuntio.
The flash could also have been caused by cloud lightning, but the people
at Ursa says it is doubtful because cloud lightning does not usually appear
as widely as the light phenomenon observed on Sunday. Observations made
in Lohja saw the fireball even more distinctly, as the weather was clearer
there. No meteorite search parties have been organised, however.
"A very rough preliminary model suggests a trajectory towards the Porvoo
or Sipoo archipelago, but our indications are really so obscure that we
can't rely on them to find it," says Pekkola.
Difficult terrain and sparse population inhibit the search
Pekkola says Finland is a difficult country for finding fallen meteorites.
"We have broad areas that are virtually uninhabited and people aren't
spending extended periods out and about in nature anymore. This, plus
a difficult terrain of marshes, lakes, forests and lots of undergrowth,
means that things are very hard to find."
And even if someone found the meteorite, it is not entirely clear if he
or she could keep it.
"The Museum of Natural History would probably offer a finder's fee, but
there's no saying if you get to keep a meteorite if you find one," says
Received on Wed 05 Feb 2014 01:30:21 PM PST