‘Like an alien attack’: Norwegians baffled by peculiar cloud activity overhead (VIDEO)
Two orange dots appeared in the sky, followed by large expanding glowing clouds of purple and green lights on Saturday night, making Norway’s stunning Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, pale in comparison.
The unusual light show was actually part of a NASA-funded AZURE (Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment) experiment to learn about the flow of particles in the ionosphere and to find out more about the contribution that an aurora makes to the amount of energy leaving and entering Earth’s geospace system. The ionosphere is the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere ionized by solar and cosmic radiation, located about 75-1000 km (46-621 miles) above our planet.
“It looked like an alien attack,” said Michael Theusner, who captured the bizarre sight while filming the Northern Lights.
Two rockets were launched from the the Andøya Space Center in northern Norway. They measured the temperature and atmospheric density and deployed tracers including trimethylaluminum and a barium and strontium mixture, which ionizes when exposed to sunlight.Also on rt.com Meteor or alien invasion? Los Angeles skies set ablaze – nothing to panic about, police say (VIDEOS)
“These mixtures create colorful clouds that allow researchers to track the flow of neutral and charged particles, respectively,” NASA explained last year, adding that its tracers would “pose no hazard to residents in the region.”
The clouds were then tracked to measure the winds and flow of particles as the glowing spots dispersed. NASA is planning another seven rocket launches in Norway over the next two years, so more alien panic could be expected.
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