Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mystery of Blue Spiral Light Over Norway Solved

By Dan Murphy, Staff Writer, Christian Science Monitor

A UFO? A Stargate style wormhole opening a path to other galaxies? The Aurora borealis?

A videotape of a strange spiraling cloud captured over Norway at dawn on Wednesday morning has had the Internet all atwitter (literally) with speculation as to its causes – everything from space aliens arriving to celebrate Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize award, to clandestine aviation tests.

Well, now it appears the mystery of the phenomenon, which bore some resemblance to a spiral galaxy, has been solved. Russia says it was the result of a failed test launch for its troubled Bulava missile program. In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said it fired a Bulava from a submarine in the White Sea near the Norwegian coast Wednesday morning. The intercontinental ballistic missile’s first two stages worked perfectly, the ministry said, though the third stage engine proved “unstable.”

Though the ministry didn’t provide an opinion on whether its missile was responsible for the spiral, rockets often start spiraling on their own during partial engine failure. And the fact that the first two stages worked as the powerful missile hurtled skyward meant it should have been high in the atmosphere before the problem occurred, leaving a spiral of exhaust that would have been illuminated by the lights of Norway before the missile exploded.

Though the phenomenon delighted thousands in Norway, the cause behind it is the source of some embarrassment for Russia, which has planned the Bulava to be the crown jewel in its sea-based nuclear program. The missile is designed to carry a nuclear payload and to be easily launched from attack submarines, but so far eight of 12 test launches have resulted in failure....

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