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Spiral Seen Over the Middle East Likely Russian Missile

Remember the Norway Spiral back in 2009 and the Australian Spiral in 2010? On June 7, 2012 there was another swirling spiral of light, this time see in the skies over the Middle East. People across the region reported seeing a “UFO” and soon videos began showing up on YouTube.

The strange sight has been confirmed to be a Russian ballistic missile test of the Topol ICBM from the Kapustin Yar firing range near Astrakhan in southern Russia.

In several videos from Israel, Syria, Iran and other Middle East, the object started out looking somewhat like a comet and then started spiraling.

But this missile wasn’t out of control. Alan Boyle from MSNBC’s Cosmic Log talked with space analyst Jim Oberg, who said the Topol’s “third-stage spin is a ‘feature,’ not a malfunction, and may be associated with guidance, or decoy deploy, or enhancing hardness against U.S. boost-phase antimissile weapons.”

Oberg also noted a few other “coincidences” of why this particular missile test was seen while other similar tests haven’t been viewed. If the Russians were testing the associated warhead’s ‘penaids’ — “penetration aids to frustrate tracking and targeting by U.S. anti-missile systems,” this would result in a trajectory that was higher than normal, allowing it to be seen from a greater distance.

Another contributing factor, Oberg said, is “It’s June — near the time of the ‘midnight sun’ in northern latitudes. That means sunlight is streaming over the pole, throughout the night. Something in the northern sky above the atmosphere over Kazakhstan would be backlit by that sunlight.”

Here’s another video.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Olaf2 June 8, 2012, 10:26 PM

    This time you can clearly see that it is a failed rocket.

  • Martijn As June 8, 2012, 10:40 PM

    A missile-test? By launching a rocket towards Israel? You need a lot of guts to do such a thing. That does not make any sense. Such a test could trigger a lot of nasty things. There are a lot of video’s out there. On some of them you van see the light of dusk, indicating the west direction. The rocket(s) seem to be launched eastwards, so they cannot be launched from Russia when spotted from Israel. Maybe from a submarine though. Is this a ICBM rocket? Or a defense system at work? People on Universe Today like debunking theories. Well, please, debunk the perfect spiral please. And also the glowing end of the zigzag pattern. (looking like a failed first stage at launch).

  • Daniel Beck June 8, 2012, 11:28 PM

    I just find it interesting that, mankind has been tossing rockets into space since the mid 20th century, and only in the last 10 years do we see any “spirals.”

    Not saying it’s aliens, or god, or wormholes or anything. I just don’t understand how these things have never been seen or video taped before.

    I understand that the proliferation of smart phones and handheld devices makes video sightings of things much more common. However, these spiral phenomenon appear to last for several minutes at a time… and people have managed to quickly whip out old school VHS camcorders to record less interesting stuff than this.

    So what gives?

    Is it possible that 6+ decades could do by without a similar sighting, and have it simply be a coincidence?

    Or is it possible/likely that this is something new?

    Like I said, could be nothing. Could be everything.

    Now, lets see how many people find some reason to flame me.

    • Hydargos June 9, 2012, 11:17 AM

      Not true sir. Look at this video footage while Von Braun is testing the V2 rocket. The spiral occurs at 2:29.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjFTN-YdK_M

      • Daniel Beck June 9, 2012, 11:45 PM

        Cannot argue that the V2 did start to spiral. But that was clearly low altitude, and sadly the video cut off before it could really develop into one like we see in the modern stuff.

        But I thank you for that find, it does help a bit and does show at least the possibility that the spirals are more common than it seems, but again, prior cases are rare… None at high altitude such as those in the modern sightings. IF you find others please share :)

    • Olaf2 June 9, 2012, 12:12 PM

      It also depends on the design of the rocket and the frequency they launch these.
      Higher frequency means higher chance on failure.

  • Zoutsteen from Holland June 9, 2012, 1:08 AM

    only one reason I can think of why rotating the balistic missile is a useful counter counter measure. A Laser.
    A test of a laser burn I saw on Youtube would have trouble scorching the paint off this way.

    • krenshala June 11, 2012, 5:04 PM

      Not if the goal is to heat the fuel, which is usually the case. Head the fuel during initial burn, and you can have it go boom, or spring a leak sending it out of control. Depending on the frequency being used, the laser doesn’t necessarily have to hit the same spot continuously.

  • Dick Fineman June 9, 2012, 10:25 AM

    is this the same phenomenon associated with auroral activity? if so there are a few arXiv papers about it submitted my Haarp scientists.

  • Aqua4U June 9, 2012, 3:58 PM

    Interesting… that this spiral pattern MAY be a Russian enhancement. It makes sense that patterns like this might confuse an anti-missile interceptor. It sure has confused some of the people making comments in here~

  • ednorton545 June 9, 2012, 8:20 PM

    Interesting that “faile Russian missile tests” can be seen around the world. Norway, Middle East, Australia? Really? Right.

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  • Olay Andaç June 11, 2012, 7:36 AM

    I happened to be on vacation in Antalya (southern Turkey, Mediterranean shore) that night. Many people spotted this spiral on the beach but it was gone before they could shoot a video or photo. I asked each of them what they saw and they described exactly the same thing which reminded me of the Norway sighting, I googled and saw that many people shot videos of the same event in Armenia and Azerbaijan. That should be about 1,500 km distance (maybe same as the distance between Israel and Armenia)

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