Norwegian skydiver update: It’s a rock, not a meteorite


Video of the rock falling past Anders Helstrup. The rock falls at the 2:51 mark.

I never imagined the mystery of the falling meteoroid and Norwegian skydiver would be solved so quickly. But it appears we have an answer. While some may still doubt the conclusion, many will agree it’s the most likely scenario: skydiver Anders Helstrup accidentally packed a pebble into his parachute after an earlier dive. Somehow it escaped his attention.

That’s the conclusion of┬áSteinar Midtskogen, one of the people who helped make the video. In his blog post published today April 8 he writes:

“We think we can reconstruct what happened: A pebble, a few cm in size at most, was accidentally caught inside the parachute at the landing site after the previous jump. Then the parachute was packed on a clean floor and the pebble was not noticed.”

Midtskogen and those involved may be disappointed it didn’t turn out to be a meteorite, but they’re happy a reasonable explanation was found thanks to their crowd sourcing efforts. Please check out Steinar’s blog for complete details.

I have to admit I hoped it was a meteorite, but I’ll take the truth over a wish anytime.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

3 thoughts on “Norwegian skydiver update: It’s a rock, not a meteorite

  1. Hey Bob,
    I haven’t gone back and rewatched this video, but as I recall, the pebble and parachute “explanation” sounds like something out of the files of Project Blue Book. But why would anyone make up a whopper like this? Then it hit me. Meteorites are valuable because they’re rare and this one is unique. Once this story hit the net, our skydiver may have gotten an offer from a wealthy private collector or maybe the…what…International Meteor Museum? Anyway, a serious cash offer could make you want to throw off the competition. Having a rock whizz through your helmet cam’s field of view doesn’t give you any claim to it. It’s that “ninety per cent of the law” that comes in here: possession. Suddenly, you don’t want so many people helping you look for it. So, don’t give up hope yet that it really is a meteor. Let’s see what the verdict is if anyone ever finds it. Later. Norman Sanker

    • Norman,
      I guess that’s a possible scenario but that seems kind of schizophrenic to wait two years, ask the public for help and then change your mind a few days later. No one’s found anything on the ground in two years. I think they’re done with the matter.

      • Great theory and I believe you are correct, but the say they had another camera that captured it falling before he pulled the parachute cord. The chances of it being captured on 2 cameras is incredibly unlikely, they may have recreated the second camera angle with a special effects software after they discovered the footage on the first camera or it may be a hoax all together. I’m still waiting on a reasonable report or explanation from a reputable source and not just a “Norwegian Meteorite Specialist” that said something in a video recorded by a news crew. It did have the right shape but that’s all I could get from what i’ve seen but even still the edges are just too sharp for comfort

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