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Fragments of meteor up for grabs in Lapland wilderness

The massive fireball spotted in Lapland last week was a meteor that fell into the Vätsäri wilderness, says Ursa Astronomical Association.

Ursan mallinnos tulipallon reitistä.
Model of the flight path. Source: URSA Astronomical Association.  Image: Ursa

According to the Ursa Astronomical Association, the massive fireball spotted in Lapland last week was a meteor that fell into the Vätsäri wilderness. On entering the Earth's atmosphere, the meteor broke into pieces with tens of kilos of the material landing in Lapland's backwoods.

Initially it was thought that the fragments had fallen into Lake Inari, which would have made their discovery very difficult.

According to URSA's modeling, the meteor weighed a few hundred kilos before entering the Earth's atmosphere. The bright flare was caused by the meteor breaking up in smaller pieces.

While a large part of the meteor was destroyed when it entered the atmosphere, tens of kilos of the mass could be found in the backwoods.

"Meteorites of that size are quite rare. Usually, the pieces that end up on the Earth's surface weigh a few hundred grams or up to a few kilos," says Esko Lyytinen, mathematician at Ursa.

Finding the fragments of the meteorite will be challenging, says Marko Pekkola from Ursa, because of the difficult and remote terrain.

"In addition, it's dark all the time and the new snow will have covered any marks by now."

Ursa said it would resume its search after the winter.

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