January 01, 2019

The Visitation

The Visitation
View of the stars through the trees. Vitaly Berkov

In 1947, on the 17th day of February, the newspaper Evening Moscow (Vechernaya Moskva) printed the following news item:

On February 12, residents of the taiga’s Krasnoarmeysky Raion witnessed an extremely rare incident. At 10 in the morning a gigantic, flaming meteorite streaked across the sky, heading at terrific speed toward the foothills of the Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range. The meteorite’s impact was accompanied by a thunderous sound, which caused a quaking of the air that shattered windows in many buildings and burst pipes, while the winds swayed trees like in a strong storm. In several places huge oaks and cedars were torn up by their roots. As the meteorite descended, a thick, reddish-brown tail of smoke trailed behind it and remained in the sky for a long time. Explosions were heard. So far the location of the meteorite’s impact has not been found. Brigades of Nanai and Udegey hunters have set out in search of it. And a brigade of scientific workers from the Far East Base of the USSR Academy of Sciences and from the Primorye Affiliate of the USSR Geographic Society has set off from Vladivostok.

As it was later explained, one of the largest meteorites ever to impact Earth (and what would be the largest in the twentieth century) had struck Primorye. It was given the name the Sikhote-Alin Meteorite.

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