“The mystery began when a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain in the north of the country. It stopped mid-air, then began to move in circles. Within seconds a giant spiral had covered the entire sky. Then a green-blue beam of light shot out from its centre – lasting for ten to 12 minutes before disappearing completely.
Onlookers describing it as ‘like a big fireball that went around, with a great light around it’ and ‘a shooting star that spun around and around’.
The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooded with telephone calls after the light storm.
[Daily Mail: Anyone for some Arctic roll? Mystery as spiral blue light display hovers above Norway]
There are even several videos:
As it turns out, despite initial denials from the Russians, all suggests it was a failed missile test. Norwegian news outlets already air the explanation, as the Russians did issue a warning that they were launching a Bulava missile at the right time and place to produce such spectacle.
Missile launches creating light shows are not that uncommon, but spirals? Those are somewhat rare, and are usually associated with rocket failure. The animation below illustrates what’s happening:
The exhaust gases are luminous because they reflect the sunlight at those high altitudes. And we are not speculating: in 2006, the almost exact same display happened with another Russian launch.
And two decades ago, even more spectacular spirals were seen in China:
If I saw that spiral in the sky, I would be baffled. Even after realizing it should be a malfunctioning rocket, because… it’s a giant light spiral in the sky!
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