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The Sky’s Not Falling, That’s Just Footage of a Meteorite Almost Hitting a Skydiver, Probably

In the grand scheme of things, that's pretty good aim, universe. You'll get him next time.

meteoriteskydiver
Don’t blink. Blink, and you’re dead you’ll miss what experts believe to be a meteorite dropping past a skydiver in mid-jump. After meteorites go through their pretty, bright-streak-in-the-sky phase, they go into “dark flight,” in which they fall straight down to the Earth and mostly look like Superman shook a pebble out of his shoe mid-flight.

In 2012, Anders Helstrup was skydiving with the Oslo Parachute club when his video feed captured something strange. He didn’t notice it at the time, but looking at the video afterwards, a small stone flies past him towards the Earth. Helstrup believes it to be a meteorite, but he also thinks it’s possible that a rock just got stuck in his parachute, which he deployed seconds before the object flew past.

I haven’t yet received a response from him on the likelihood of my Superman theory.

Some meteorite experts are convinced, though, and believe that it’s a piece of a larger meteorite that broke off when the atmosphere tore it apart, and it passed by Helstrup during dark flight. Geologist Hans Amundsen of the Natural History Museum in Oslo said, “It can’t be anything else. The shape is typical of meteorites—a fresh fracture surface on one side, while the other side is rounded.”

Those who think the rock more likely came from Helstrup’s parachute pack are skeptical of its seemingly low speed, but it’s hard to tell how fast it’s actually moving, because the camera recording it just went hurtling downward out of a plane. Helstrup had just pulled his chute, but it’s hard to get any perspective on how fast he’s moving, which would be helpful in determining the actual speed of the object.

To find out for sure, they’ve launched a website and a whole project based around searching for the meteorite to prove its authenticity, but it has yet to be found. If it is ever found and verified, this would be the first time a meteorite has ever been recorded during dark flight.

(via I Fucking Love Science, image nrk via YouTube)

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