Anyone for some Arctic roll? Mystery as spiral blue light display hovers above Norway
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 12:53 AM on 10th December 2009
What's blue and white, squiggly and suddenly appears in the sky?
If you know the answer, pop it on a postcard and send it to the people of Norway, where this mysterious light display baffled residents yesterday.
Curiously, it appears to be unconnected with the aurora borealis, or northern lights, the natural magnetic phenomena that can often be viewed in that part of the world.
Strange spiral: Residents in northern Norway were left stunned after the lightshow, which almost looked computer-generated, appeared in the skies above them
Curious: A blue-green beam of light was reported to have come shooting out the centre of the spiral
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.
Confusion: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooded with calls after the light storm
Totto Eriksen, from Tromsø, told VG Nett: 'It spun and exploded in the sky,'
He spotted the lights as he walked his daughter Amalie to school.
He said: 'We saw it from the Inner Harbor in Tromsø. It was absolutely fantastic.
'It almost looked like a rocket that spun around and around and then went diagonally down the heavens.
'It looked like the moon was coming over the mountain, but then came something completely different.'
Celebrity astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard said he had never seen anything like the lights.
He said: 'My first thought was that it was a fireball meteor, but it has lasted far too long.
'It may have been a missile in Russia, but I can not guarantee that it is the answer.'
What could it be? Astronomers say the spectacle did not appear to be connected to the Northern Lights
Air traffic control in Tromsō claimed the light show lasted 'far too long to be an astronomical phenomenon'.
Norwegian defence spokesman Jon Espen Lien also said the lights were probably from a Russian missile test claiming it was normal for Russia to use the White Sea and the Barents Sea as a testing ground.
Tromsō Geophysical Observatory researcher Truls Lynne Hansen agreed, saying the missile had likely veered out of control and exploded, and the spiral was light reflecting on the leaking fuel.
But the mystery deepened last night as Russia denied it had been conducting missile tests in the area.
A Moscow news outlet quoted the Russian Navy as denying any rocket launches from the White Sea area.
Norway should be informed of such launches under international agreements, it was stressed.
The Russian Defence Ministry was unavailable for comment.
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