What was the Norway Spiral?

Just what created the big blue spiral in the sky over Norway in the early morning hours of Dec. 9, 2009? Time traveling Borgs? Psychedelic aliens? Most likely, it was something much more terrestrial and much more boring. Many reports say it was the failed launch of a Russian rocket, probably a Bulava ICBM, a problem-plagued Russian missile that reportedly had several test launches scheduled. Although Russian officials haven’t confirmed this (and in fact one official denied there was any rocket launch in the area) an anonymous Russian military source said it actually was failed launch from a submarine in the White Sea early Wednesday morning.

UPDATE (Dec. 10): Russia has finally admitted a missile accident with the Bulava ICBM. This rocket already has failed six of 13 previous tests, according to the BBC, so Russia might have been a little embarrassed about it.

In what seems to confirm a rocket launch, yesterday, a message from NAVTEX was issued message warning airplanes not to fly, and ships not to sail in that area:

031230 UTC DEC 09
09 DC 0200 TO 0900 10 DEC 0100 TO 0900

Additionally, a researcher at the Tromsø Geophysical Observatory (where they observe auroras) Truls Lynne Hansen is certain that the light was caused by a missile launch. “The missile has probably come out of control and exploded,” Hansen was quoted in the Barents Observer. “The peculiar spiral shaped light pattern comes from reflection of the sun in the leaking fuel.”

Visible in the images and videos is the sunlight just beginning to peek over the horizon which would have back-lit the fuel.

Another launch on November 1 also caused strange light phenomenon in northern parts of Norway, although not as spectacular as the one today. It also caused speculation as to the cause, but it came from the launch of a Sineva missile from the nuclear submarine in the White Sea.

Doug Ellison from UnmannedSpaceflight.com has created a video (updated and improved from his earlier version we had in our previous article) showing the morphology of a tumbling rocket stage throwing out unspent fuel in two directions. “This is a set of rendered views using 3DS Max to produce a coarse simulation of what may have occurred to produce the beautiful formation in the sky over Norway earlier today,” he said. “It is not an ‘official’ answer, though. It looks beautiful, but there’s probably a fairly ordinary explanation.”

Other explanations?

Here are just a few that were emailed to me today:

Aurora: Not likely. No aurora has ever taken on this shape.

Birkeland Current: Again, not likely. A Birkeland Current a magnetic field aligned current in the Earth’s magnetosphere which flows from the magnetotail towards the Earth on the dawn side and in the other direction on the dusk side of the magnetosphere. Birkeland currents often show filamentary, or twisted “rope-like” magnetic structure, and they create the aurora Borealis and Australis when they reach the upper atmosphere.

Poisk module: This Russian module undocked from the International Space Station yesterday, and a employee at Boeing said the module would have had unspent fuel which would have been released on reentry. However, the timing doesn’t seem to be right as to when it would have burned up the in the atmosphere.

Projection: There has been some talk this was just a projection on the sky. However, the phenomenon was seen in a wide area, meaning such a projection would have to be huge. Again, not likely.

Sources: Barents Observer, Navtex

27 Replies to “What was the Norway Spiral?”

  1. SpaceWeather.com posted several videos and stills of this event. The accompanying storyline stated that the Russians are denying it was one of their rocket tests gone bad. Kind of typical that they’d prefer not to admit a boo-boo…?

  2. The most likely explanations in indeed a rocket rotating around itself.

    Note: on the photo the spiral seems huge but this is because you zoomed in very much. The same effect is when you get when you have a person on a mountain very far and you zoom in so you get the Moon blown out of proportion so the an seems to be very small compared to the moon.

  3. Possible explanations emailed to Nancy: “Birkeland Current: Again, not likely…..”

    Wonder who sent that? Surprisingly, one commenter at one of the Norwegian papers seemed insistent the this was indeed a Birkeland Current and mentioned some z-pinch mechanism (this was via Google Translate)! Given Norway’s scientific history I can see why there may be some connection, but my first thought was “Norway’s got ’em too!” 🙂

  4. – Cant be UFO,
    – Russians denying the cause…thats a given,
    – If man can create that same spiral (AKA Leaking Fuel) in the skies for even 1 sec: Not UFO,
    – If man cant make a replica of that event: UFO.

    [Remember]: Us humans cant do what UFO’s do

  5. Not too complicated, a dihedral ray sent through a newform tesla coil – energy through copper or other alloy compound pyramid, base at edge of tesla coil point, point of pyramid to your point of aim.. charged dihedral ray point of ignition in atmoshere..you guess charge and combustion or action phase. Make these smaller, more powerful ( right charge and right alloy) mount in back of ford f350, batteries and generator, solar rechargeable, mobile artillery for the poor…jez kidding…dihedral ray, it is obvious the f$&^% govt finally figgered it out only bigger. I can figger it out as can you, there really is nothing new under the sun…love rudy

  6. Well, at best one could make a guess of sorts. I don’t believe for a second it is a ‘missile’ in any way let alone one gone wrong.
    My best guess, is it is a planetary defense test. Either for a CME’s or inbound ‘meteors etc’. Perhaps both. The HAARP effects(visual) we have seen for example are not unlike this in scope and intensity and beauty. This event just looks more ‘directed and focused’. Keep up the good work SpaceCommand! 😉

  7. @Jon Hanford,

    Oh no!
    The one that proposed the Birkeland Current will now be laughed at in Norway too!

  8. How is testing ICBMs okay? I figured that some sort of arms agreement would prohibit that. Didn’t folks get all riled up when the US tested anti-missile stuff? But it’s okay to test ICBMs?

    Or is there some other use for “ICBMs” other than delivering nuclear warheads? In that case, why call them ICBMs? 😛

  9. I don’t understand any Chinese, but from the tone of voice of the narrator behind the Chinese video, I would guess he’s saying something like “UFO or rocket gone out of control? You be the judge!”

  10. Oooh, pretty!

    Us humans cant do what UFO’s do

    The problem is that they do nothing. UFO ideas have been tested and falsified, no observations as these ideas predict.

    How is testing ICBMs okay?

    Wasn’t there an exception for submarine weapons? The loophole then, I guess, is that there are “international waters” to fuzzify the responsible nation question.

  11. This is a “UFO-star ” that heralds the coming of Maitreya. Check out Share-international.org for many videos of the “star”.

  12. ivar,

    >> I saw the spiral at 13.00(GTM) today over Astana(capital of Kazakhstan). The rocket still flies?

    I would be very interested to hear your account.

  13. Many people in russian city Ufa,Perm,Tcheliabinsk saw it yesterday. ,,, I observed how the spiral moved to me from the sky,,,about 60-70 degrees over horisont from west side.This lasted several seconds, but was such- as in norway.

  14. official version says that it was a second russian rocket which started from firing range Kapustin Yar in northern Astrachan area(Russia) and fell on the Sary Shagan firing range(Kazakhstan.near western shore of Balkhash like). But Sary Shagan situated southward from Astana on 600 km,, the flight path is very strange if you look on map.

  15. @ivar
    Just remember this is a “failed” rocket launch!
    The flight plan might look very strange and erratic.

  16. I saw either this or the same thing in the midlands?? i didnt see a spiral only the glowing ball then the trail lasted about 4seconds in total and was more green in colour… how????

  17. Olaf: ” – Just remember this is a “failed” rocket launch!”>>>

    – I wrote about phenomena, which i observed in Kazakhstan 10.12.09( beside 13.00 GMT) ,-in 30 hours after Norwegian phenomena.

  18. I still think it has something to do with the HAARP project, I suppose it could be a failed rocket launch, but then I’m not inclined to believe much of what the government offers as explanations.

    And technically speaking it was a UFO, it was an unidentified flying object, not saying it WAS connected to aliens, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was.

    But my money still rests on the HAARP project and Russia is just covering it up, because the US wants it to, you see no blame being put on the US, and you can say that that’s because we didn’t have anyone in that area, but who needs to be there when you have a gigantic array of machines that were built “to study the aurora” but could possibly do more.

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