Close Encounters Of The Russian Kind

Jazz Shaw at Moderate Voice:

Over the skies of Norway, something was happening besides the President’s arrival to pick up his Nobel prize. A truly strange light show took place which absolutely does not look like any permutation of the Northern Lights that I’ve ever seen. It went on for at least ten minutes, twisting in outward moving spirals with some sort of strange blue-green beam coming out of the center. I have to agree with Allahpundit… in terms of “freaky” this may be the “freaky deakyest” to come round in my lifetime.

Allah Pundit:

That blue spiral seems awfully tight for a missile gone awry, but Pop Sci’s also leaning towards that explanation and notes that a similar spiral was seen over China earlier this year. Hmmmm. Other possibilities: (1) test run for a new Norwegian death ray; (2) divine sign heralding the Messiah’s arrival in Oslo; (3) mini-black hole caused by Hadron collider misfire; (4) aliens, aliens, aliens. All theories welcome!

Phil Plait at Discover:

My first reaction when I saw that was, “What the FRAK is THAT?!” My second thought was, “Photoshop”. But then I saw lots of pictures of this on a bunch of different Norwegian media, so I don’t think it’s a digital hoax. Then videos started surfacing, like this one, which clearly show the spiral spinning. It’s not just a static picture, whatever this thing was; it was really in the sky.

However, after a moment, I realized this must be a rocket, most likely spiraling out of control. I don’t understand all the details — I don’t have all the info yet — but a rocket fits what we’re seeing here. First, this was seen all over Norway, so it must have been at a high altitude to be so visible. Second, the blue spiral angling down to the right is clearly due to perspective. A rocket spiraling around, and coming up from the lower right, would appear to make tight spirals when it was far away and bigger ones as it got closer.

Third, you can actually see the bright white spiral spinning in the videos. That threw me for a second, to be honest, but after a moment I figured that it makes sense if the rocket is headed more or less straight toward the camera. Whatever it is being lit up (exhaust, or a leaking payload?) would appear to expand in a spiral like water from a spinning sprinklerhead. The spiral itself is not spinning any more than water from the sprinkler is; that’s an illusion of motion.

Fourth, after a few moments, a black disk appears to expand in the center of the white spiral, as seen in this picture (it’s a little fuzzy; you can see the person taking it must have used a long exposure because foreground lights are jittery, but you get the idea). That’s exactly what I would expect if whatever is being ejected by the rocket ran out; the arms of the spiral would expand away from the center, leaving black emptiness in the middle.

So that’s my hypothesis. A rocket got out of control, perhaps losing a stabilizer, and started to spiral. The two spirals, different in shape, size, and color, indicate something happened in the middle of all this (the rocket second stage fired while still spinning, or something else started leaking out), changing the rocket’s direction. Then, when the fuel or whatever ran out, the white spiral began to disappear from the inside out as the material expanded in space.

Jillian Rayfield at TPM:

Turns out they’re not “out there” after all. Those UFO sighting in Norway this morning weren’t actually UFOs — just a Russian missile test gone wrong.

The Russian Defense Ministry admitted today that its Bulava intercontinental missile failed a test launch, following reports of unusual lights in Norway that caused an influx of UFO sightings.

Russia’s submarine-based Bulava (Mace), which is designed to carry multiple warheads up to 5,000 miles, failed its 13th test launch, something Alexander Khramchikhin, chief analyst at the Institute of Military and Political Analysis in Moscow, called “a catastrophe.”

“Billions of dollars have been flushed down the drain,” he reportedly said.

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Filed under Foreign Affairs, Russia, Science

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