Chelyabinsk meteor #2? Massive flash over Russia’s Urals stuns locals & scientists
An extraordinary bright orange flash has lit up the sky in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in the Urals. While locals captured the massive ‘blast’ on numerous cameras, both scientists and emergency services still struggle to explain the unusual event.
Dark evening skies in the town of Rezh in Sverdlovsk region near Russia's Ekaterinburg turned bright orange for some ten seconds on November 14, with the event being caught on several cameras by the locals.
A driver filmed the massive flash with his dashcam, later posting the video on YouTube, with more people commenting they’ve seen it too. Teenagers in the town of Rezh also filmed the phenomenon with a mobile phone.
Theories of what might have caused the “blast” appeared both on social and traditional media, with a new meteorite or military exercise in the region being among the top guesses. Regional emergency services said no accidents in connection with the event had been recorded. No sound of explosion has been reported either.
— RT (@RT_com) November 18, 2014
According to E1.ru, the emergency officials suggested the military were behind the flash, as they might have had a scheduled explosive ordnance disposal procedure. The city administration has also said such ammunition disposal might have taken place, while the military themselves denied they were behind the mystery.
“No exercise and training were underway on that day, and no military units are based in the region, so we have nothing to do with it,” a military press service told E1.ru.
A fireball caused by an asteroid’s collision with the Earth's atmosphere is among other presumed reasons for the burning sky.
“Looks like a falling bolide, which invaded us. Because of the low cloud cover it ceased to exist above the clouds and lit up the whole sky,” a member of the meteorites committee of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Grokhovsky told 66.ru.
Another astronoma, Vadim Krushinsky, doubted his colleague's theory, saying the color of the flash does not support the asteroid speculation. The shade of light depends on the body’s temperature, and flashes caused by bolides are usually whiter, he explained to Ekburg.tv. The observatory engineer suggested his own theory, saying a space rocket launch might have been the cause.
A path of launches from the Plesetsk cosmodrome lies above the area, Krushinsky said. But, according to Russian Federal Space Agency's website, the latest launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome happened on October 29, with the next one planned for November 24.
People in the Urals witnessed a space ‘invasion’ event a year and a half ago, when the famous Chelyabinsk meteorite hit the region. A massive fireball explosion in February 2013 injured over a thousand people with shattered glass mostly, and damaged many residential and industrial buildings.