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Watch: Fireball in northern Finnish skies either meteor or space trash, expert says

Northern Finland was illuminated by a blazing fireball on Thursday night, which experts said was either a meteor or 'space trash'.

meteoriitin valaisema taivas
Kaamasessa Inarissa torstaina kuvattu video näyttää, kuinka tulipallo valaisee pimeän iltataivaan. Video: Tony Bateman /

Many people in northern Finland were astonished and confused by the sight of a massive fireball that fell from the dark sky in the region Thursday evening. A space phyisics expert says the fiery flash was likely a meteor.

Jyrki Manninen, a space physics engineer at the University of Oulu, says the glowing object which fell from the skies early Thursday evening was likely a meteor. He based his theory on video footage that captured the anomaly in the western municipality of Lohtaja.

"It was probably a meteor, a fairly big rock," Manninen says, but did not rule out the possibility it could also have been space trash, like a part from a broken satellite.

Based on the video, he estimates the fireball was hurtling some 150-200 kilometres above the earth's surface.

The suspected meteor was seen as far south as Lohtaja, where a video camera inadvertently recorded it, because the camera was already pointed to the northern skies, in an effort to record the Northern Lights.

Many people across the northern region reported seeing the unusual descending flare. Witnesses in Lapland reported a big fireball in the skies.

Others within a radius of a few hundred kilometres reported hearing loud bangs in connection with the event, as well.

Manninen says the bangs or noises that were reported could be connected to the speed at which the debris from space was descending.

Technically, a rock which burns before reaching the surface of a planet is a meteor, and in cases where a rock from space does hit the ground, it is called a meteorite.

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