Solo Green Fireball Flashes over Russia's Secretive 'Scientific City'
A bright green fireball seen in the early morning hours of November 27th over Akademgorodok, Russia, near the regional capital Novosibirsk, prompted local residents to take to social media to share videos of the event.
The spectacular aerial display caused speculation among locals, who wondered if the fireball could have been caused by everything from a UFO to an exploding meteor to the Russian testing of advanced weapons.
Russia’s state-run media stepped in to say the object was a bolide meteor, although scientists at the nearby Big Novosibirsk Planetarium admitted a certain bewilderment at the phenomenon’s appearance.
“Most likely, this is a flash of bolide, that is, the fall of a bright meteor with a flash. It is all the more surprising because there are no active meteor showers now," said planetarium deputy director Ilya Orlov. “It can be either the tail of a [Leonid] meteor shower or a lone meteor, we need to find out.”
Bolide meteors are extremely bright bits of exploding space debris that burn up in Earth's atmosphere, and are often held responsible for sightings of fireballs.
The phenomenon's proximity to Akademgorodok has some suspicious that it could represent secret Russian weapons testing. This secretive community in Siberia was set up by the Kremlin in 1957 as a base to house Soviet scientists away from their Cold War rivals. It still serves as home to many of Russia's leading researchers and academics, including those devoted to military and space developments.