New Aurora Mystery: What is going on in the skies over Norway!?
2010-01-28 0:00

By Ian O'Neill | DiscoveryNews.com


Jan. 26, 2010 -- This was the view looking over the small town of Andenes, Norway, on Jan. 20. Snaking across the sky from horizon to horizon was a dynamic green aurora, signaling to the inhabitants of Earth that the sun was spraying us with an intense stream of energetic particles.


On Jan. 20, 2010, Per-Arne Mikalsen was photographing a vast aurora erupting over the northern Norwegian town of Andenes.

Because solar activity is on the increase, aurora spotters have many opportunities to see the Northern Lights. On this particular night the aurora was intense, stretching toward the southern latitudes of Norway.

In one of the photographs taken by Mikalsen was an "object" that couldn't be identified. Although Mikalsen had taken several images at the same location, just one photo showed a mysterious green parachute-like object hanging with the main aurora. (This time, it appears that the Russian military was not involved in the making of this strange shape in the sky.)

At first it seemed easy to dismiss the object as a lens flare or a spot on the camera lens, but after further study it became clear that the answer wasn't that simple.

Also, Mikalsen is no stranger to aurorae, having worked on Andøya Rocket Range (on the island of Andøya) for many years. He's seen aurorae of all shapes and sizes, but he'd never before seen a structure like this hanging in the sky.

"I have been working the Andøya Rocket Range for 25 years (the 20 last years in the management) and I have become more and more fascinated by the aurora," Mikalsen told Discovery News. "Photography is a hobby for me."

According to Mikalsen, as soon as he posted his aurora photographs on the Spaceweather.com Northern Lights Gallery, he received dozens of emails from all over the world requesting more information about the mysterious shape.

So what could it be? In correspondence with Truls Lynne Hansen, lead scientist at the Tromsø Geophysical Observatory, he doubts that the mystery object can be explained by a technical fault.

"Usually such aberrations appear when there is a small and intense source of light in the field of view, or at least so close that the light from it hits the lens," Hansen explained to me via email. "That seems not to be the case here."

"Additionally the color of the 'phenomenon' is the same as the color in the aurora, the auroral green line from atomic oxygen," Hansen continued, "so the 'phenomenon' is either a genuine auroral feature or a reflection of auroral light somewhere in space."

Hold on. A reflection of auroral light... in space? That's impossible.

Or is it?

The structured shape of the phenomenon, plus its distance from any light sources, seems to indicate that this isn't an equipment problem. There is also no known aurora that could do this naturally. So that leaves the "reflection from space" argument. What do we have in space that could possibly reflect the green light being emitted by the aurora?

"I agree with Pål Brekke [Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Space Centre] that a reflection from a satellite is a candidate," said Hansen. "It reminds of the so-called 'Iridium flares' -- reflections of sunlight from the regularly shaped Iridium satellites."

Satellite flares are well known by astronomers. As a satellite passes overhead, the conditions may be right for the spacecraft's solar panels or antennae to reflect sunlight down to the ground. The result is a short-lived burst of light, known as a "flare."

The network of Iridium communication satellites are best known for their flares, since they have three huge door-sized antennae that act as orbital mirrors. Witnessing an Iridium flare is immensely rewarding; the event can be predicted beforehand because these satellites have orbits that can be tracked.

My personal concern about the satellite flare theory is the question about auroral light intensity. Is the light from a large aurora bright enough to bounce off a satellite and appear as an auroral satellite flare as a point? And in turn produce a parachute-shaped, lens flare-like projection in the photo? I couldn't imagine even an Iridium satellite amplifying auroral light that much (although a stonking-huge orbital solar power array of the future might do a better job).

"The intensity of an intense aurora is not far from the intensity of moonlight, which is 1/100,000 of sun's light, and the solar Iridium flares apparently are several orders of magnitude stronger than this 'auroral flare,' so the intensity does not immediately exclude the satellite reflection hypothesis," said Hansen.


How an Iridium flare works with sunlight, but the same should be true for other light sources, such as aurorae (astrosat.net)

"The intensity of an intense aurora is not far from the intensity of moonlight, which is 1/100,000 of sun's light, and the solar Iridium flares apparently are several orders of magnitude stronger than this 'auroral flare,' so the intensity does not immediately exclude the satellite reflection hypothesis," said Hansen.

A weak auroral flare seems feasible, but as pointed out by astronomer Daniel Fischer via Twitter, the green flare might not have anything to do with reflected aurora light, it could just be the color of the lens coating. The lens flare was therefore the result of internal reflections inside the camera lens caused by the bright lights in the lower left-hand corner of the frame.

"It has the typical caustic shape and it is opposite several bright point lights," Fischer observed. "Green color could be caused by lens coatings."

Although more research will need to be done, it certainly seems plausible that Per-Arne Mikalsen serendipitously took a photograph of a satellite flare (possibly an Iridium satellite).

What makes this revelation even more exciting is that we've never seen an auroral reflection from a satellite before (if it's not a lens flare, that is).

"I have, by the way, never seen or heard of a similar phenomenon," Hansen said.

Article from: DiscoveryNews.com




Video from: YouTube.com


Video from: YouTube.com



Was Norway’s HAARP Facility EISCAT Responsible for the Norway Spiral?



Related Articles
Mysterious glowing aurora over Saturn confounds scientists
Big Auroras on Jupiter
Aurora Alert! Yesterday's X3-flare expected to spark a geomagnetic storm
Norway Time Hole “Leak” Plunges Northern Hemisphere Into Chaos
David Wilcock on Norway Spiral, DNA Upgrade, 2012 and UFO Disclosure (Video)
Russian missile failure sparks "UFO frenzy" in Norway
What was that Blue Light Spiral in Norway?
UFO-show in Norway sky welcomes Obama for Nobel Prize ceremony (Video)
Mystery as Spiral Blue Light Display Hovers Above Norway [ed. OP Bluebeam?]
Strange Formation seen on radar by thousands over Australia
Japan's Moonshot? $21 Billion Invested in Space-Based Solar Power
Huge Spherical Objects in the Corona of the Sun - Shot by NASA's Stereo Spacecraft


Latest News from our Front Page

Japan and America agree to put giant fighting robots into battle
2015-07-06 20:02
Japan's Suidobashi accepts MegaBots' challenge of a duel, paving the way for robot wars on a grand scale It's the moment we've all been waiting for: two giant fighting robots - one Japanese and one American - will square off in a melee one year from now. That is, if the robots' two owners keep their word. Last week, MegaBots, an American ...
Hillary Clinton is coming to Kansas City for the National Council of La Raza conference
2015-07-06 20:17
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will speak to the National Council of La Raza annual conference in Kansas City later this month. The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady is scheduled to appear at the conference at the Kansas City Convention Center on Monday, July 13. “We are thrilled that Secretary Clinton will join us to speak to the ...
Fires at Black Churches Do Not Appear to Be Linked, Racially Motivated: ATF
2015-07-06 20:44
A string of fires at black churches in Southern states have sparked concerns that racial friction has spiked in the aftermath of the racially-motivated mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Federal fire investigators are combing through the remains say they do not have enough evidence on hand to determine that the scattered incidents were racial attacks against the ...
As Greece Falls, Will Those With Gardens Survive?
2015-07-06 19:35
Greeks don't want austerity, but the future is bleak and unknown. As of Friday, grocery shelves were being stripped bare of staple cooking goods, and pharmacies ran out of crucial medicines like thyroxine (thyroid treatment). More than half of those items are imported, but with banking plugs, companies are unable to pay suppliers. Things are frozen; stopped, and tens of thousands ...
Rise of the super soldier: Liquid armour, indestructible exoskeletons and weapons that never miss revealed as the future of warfare
2015-07-06 19:17
War has been one of the greatest spurs to science in history. Developments as diverse and far-reaching as space travel, superglue, duct tape and microwaves owe their origins beneath camouflage netting and behind sandbags. Today's military innovations, though, are focused not just on getting the job done, but doing so as quickly as possible and bringing the soldiers home to their ...
More News »