LAST NIGHT IN NORTH ICELAND: GIANT FIREBALL AND AURORAS ABOVE ICELAND
It was he longest and most powerful meteor I have witnessed in my life. We were screaming when the sky lit up!
Icelanders were left awestruck by a bright meteor that illuminated the night sky last night.
On September 12, 2023, our team of photographers from Aurora Reykjavik had the incredible opportunity to witness a meteor while capturing the Northern Lights at Ljósavatn in North Iceland.
“We had just set up our cameras to capture new material for our Northern Lights exhibition,” said Grétar Jónsson, CEO of Aurora Reykjavík, The Northern Lights Center. “The first green arches of the auroras were already clearly visible above the horizon. Then suddenly, a powerful flash occurred, streaking down towards the mountain range north of Ljósavatn. It lasted for more than 10 seconds. We were screaming, totally awed by the long trail of the fireball.”
The meteor was witnessed by astrophotographers all over Iceland. Sævar Helgi Bragason, Iceland’s most famous astronomer, along with a group of photographers, was mesmerized when the meteor suddenly streaked across the sky at the Arctic Henge in Rauðarhöfn.
According to Sævar, the meteorite was likely a small boulder, possibly no larger than a strawberry. This was a rarity, as he hadn’t witnessed such an event in fifteen years. It is believed that the meteor burned up approximately 60 to 100 kilometers away from Earth, as reported by RÚV
Such meteoric events are exceedingly rare to witness, even for seasoned observers like us, so we were thrilled by the event.
Renowned photographer and National Geographic contributor Babak Tafreshi also had the privilege of witnessing the same meteorite.
He writes on his YouTube-channel:
“On 2023 September 13, near the northern most point of Iceland, the night sky exploded with the northern lights and a spectacular fireball, above the Arctic Henge monument. I was about to move our group to another spot when this tennis-ball sized space rock entered the earth atmosphere and burned at an altitude of 60-90 km above us, becoming as bright as the full moon for a moment. Such meteors are very rare to witness. Even for a frequent observer like me it took three decades to finally record one in video!”
A meteor is a space rock that burns brightly after entering Earth’s atmosphere at high speed. It becomes known as a meteorite if it survives its passage to the ground.