2009 Norwegian spiral anomaly

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Map of Norway in which the light was observed in the red (Trøndelag) and blue (Nord Norge)

The Norwegian spiral anomaly of 2009[1] appeared in the night sky over Norway[2] on 9 December 2009. It was visible from, and photographed from, northern Norway and Sweden. The spiral consisted of a blue beam of light with a greyish spiral emanating from one end of it. The light could be seen in all of Trøndelag to the south (the two red counties on the map to the right) and all across the three northern counties which compose Northern Norway,[3] as well as from Northern Sweden[1] and it lasted for 2–3 minutes.[3] According to sources, it looked like a blue light coming from behind a mountain, stopping in mid-air, and starting to spiral outwards.[4][5] A similar, though less spectacular event had also occurred in Norway the month before.[6] Both events had the expected visual features of failed flights of Russian SLBM RSM-56 Bulava missiles,[7][8] and the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged shortly after that such an event had taken place on 9 December.[9]

Initial speculations[edit]

Hundreds of calls flooded the Norwegian Meteorological Institute as residents wanted to know what they were seeing.[5][10] Norwegian celebrity astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard commented that he first speculated that it was a fireball meteor, but rejected that possibility because the light lasted too long.[5] He also pointed out the area over which the light had been observed was exceptionally large, covering all of Northern Norway and Trøndelag.[3] It was also suggested that it could have been a rare, never-before-seen Northern Lights variant.[10]

UFO enthusiasts immediately began speculating whether the aerial light display could be evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence proposing among other things that it could be a wormhole opening up, or somehow was linked to the recent high-energy experiments undertaken at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.[11]

Official Russian explanation[edit]

On 10 December, the Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed that a Bulava missile test had failed. According to a spokesman, "The missile's first two stages worked as normal, but there was a technical malfunction at the next, third, stage of the trajectory."[9] Russian defence analyst Pavel Felgenhauer stated to AFP that "such lights and clouds appear from time to time when a missile fails in the upper layers of the atmosphere and have been reported before ... At least this failed test made some nice fireworks for the Norwegians."[12] Prior to the Russian statement, Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, had already suggested that the unusual light display occurred when the missile's third stage nozzle was damaged, causing the exhaust to come out sideways and sending the missile into a spin.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Linder, Alexander (9 December 2009). "Märkligt ljussken över Kiruna". Norrländska Socialdemokraten (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Estimation of the Location, Trajectory, Size, and Altitude of the "Norway Spiral" Phenomenon
  3. ^ a b c Haugdal, Marthe; Andersen, Ingunn; Bleikelia, Mats; Enerstvedt, Vidar (9 December 2009). "Vet ikke hva den mystiske kjempespiralen er". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian) (Oslo, Norway). Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Strange light in Norwegian sky sparks mystery". The Daily Telegraph (UK). 9 December 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Stewart, Will (9 December 2009). "Mystery as spiral blue light display hovers above Norway". Daily Mail. UK. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Mystisk lys var russisk rakett
  7. ^ a b "Strange 'Norway spiral' likely an out-of-control missile". New Scientist. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Norway spiral: A rocket scientist explains the mystery". Christian Science Monitor. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Clara Moskowitz, 'Russia admits missile caused UFO lights'. MSNBC News, 10 December 2009.
  10. ^ a b Wheeler, Virginia (9 December 2009). "Spiral UFO puts Norway in a spin". The Sun. UK. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "Norway wormhole is First Contact, claim UFO watchers". news.com.au (Sydney, Australia). 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  12. ^ UFO frenzy was Russian missile failure, Yahoo!7 News

External links[edit]

External video
"中国气象台曝光20年前UFO绝密录像" (YouTube video). 29 April 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009.  (Video of similar event that happened in China in April 2009.) (Chinese)
"Spiral ejecta from tumbling rocket stage – simulation" (YouTube video). Retrieved 23 December 2009.