Meteorite Burns Up Over East Iceland (Probably) - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Meteorite Burns Up Over East Iceland (Probably)

Published March 25, 2015

Photos by
Creative Commons/Brocken Inagl

An astrophysicist is asking for more witnesses to come forward who may have seen a spectacular display over the east Iceland night sky last night.

East Iceland news outlet Austurfrétt reports that residents and drivers near Hallormsstaður and Jökuldalur were met with a surprise last night. At around 21:30, the sky reportedly lit up with a brief but powerful light, the source of which was unseen by witnesses who have come forward thus far.

“It was a blue flash,” recalled Þórunn Hálfdánardóttir, who was on her way home with her husband when the incident occurred. “It reminded me of lightning, as far as how bright it was goes, but we didn’t see the source of the light itself.”

Lightning has been ruled out, however – lightning is exceedingly rare in Iceland, and weather conditions in the east would not have created it.

Gunnlaugur Björnsson, an astrophysicist at the Research Department for the University of Iceland, believes the light source was most likely a large meteorite burning up in the atmosphere. To be certain, more witnesses need to come forward.

“We are trying to determine what this could have been,” he said. “We would very much like to get more information and hear from more witnesses, not just in east Iceland but from all over the country.”

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