A Norwegian skydiver survived the jump of his life over Norway after a falling meteor passed within meters of his dive — and captured it all on his helmet video camera.
Anders Helstrup made the jump over Hedmark two years ago, and after reviewing the footage from the forward and rear-facing cameras on his helmet, saw a rock-like object plummet past him toward the ground. After taking the footage to experts for examination, they confirmed it was a meteorite in “dark flight” – the phase after a meteor burns in the atmosphere and cools as it falls to the Earth’s surface.
WATCH: In normal speed (slow motion video below); meteorite appears around 15 seconds.
“I was part of the investigation – and kept secret for two years – in hope of finding the meteorite,” Norwegian astrophysicist Pal Brekke told Universe Today on Twitter.
Despite Helstrup and company’s failed efforts to find the meteorite, which in all likelihood landed in an area of dense forest with a river, marshes and high grass, multiple experts have confirmed there is no doubt about the object’s origin after eliminating other possibilities like loose gear from jumpers or the plane.
An examination of the footage zoomed and in slow motion even provided details about the type of meteorite, which may have been a fragment from a larger meteor that exploded in the upper atmosphere above Helstrup.
“It can’t be anything else,” geologist Hans Amundsen, told the Norwegian publication NRK. “The shape is typical of meteorites – a fresh fracture surface on one side, while the other side is rounded.”
“If you’d jumped a fraction of a second later you’d be dead,” Amundsen told Helstrup after examining the footage.“Imagine a 5 kilo rock hitting you in the chest at 300 kilometers per hour. That would have led to quite an accident investigation.”
Helstrup’s footage is the first to ever capture a meteorite in dark flight, after its luminescence has faded and burned out.