Monday, December 14, 2009


AFTER THE STORM: Last week, a powerful blizzard paralyzed parts of the US midwest. Mike Hollingshead of Blair, Nebraska, walked outside after the storm and this is what he saw;
Sunlight shining through ice crystals had produced a bright pair of sundogs and a vivid circumzenithal arc. "These tend to appear on the backside of a storm's clearing line as ice crystals blow through the air," notes Hollingshead. "It's a beautiful sight but not a ton of fun to photograph at 5o F with winds blowing 40 mph."


Early this morning (Dec. 14th), Bjørnar G. Hansen photographed a Geminid fireball streaking through the Northern Lights over Kvaløya, Norway:

"I took the picture using a Nikon D3," says Hansen. "It is a 30 second exposure."
Robin Busscher sends this report from the Netherlands: "Between midnight and 2 am, we saw a big show of Geminids with as many as 5 meteors in only 10 seconds. That's a lot more than the predicted maximum of 140 per hour!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Wednesday morning, Dec. 9th,

people in arctic Norway were stunned when a gigantic luminous spiral formed in the northern sky.

"We are used to seeing lots of auroras here in Norway, but this was different," says Nick Banbury of Harstad who witnessed the phenomenon on his way to work "between 7:50 and 8:00 a.m. local time."

Jan Petter Jorgensen took this photo:
The first reaction of many readers when they see this picture is Photoshop! Surely this must be a fake.

But no, many independent observers witnessed and phtotographed the apparition. It is real.
Banbury continues: "It consisted initially of a green beam of light similar in color to the aurora with a mysterious rotating spiral at one end.

This spiral then got bigger and bigger until it turned into a huge halo in the sky with the green beam extending down to Earth.

According to press reports, this could be seen all over northern Norway and must therefore have been very high up in the atmosphere to be seen hundreds of km apart."
HYPOTHESIS: Evidence is mounting that the phenomenon was caused by a malfunctioning suborbital rocket, possibly a
Bulava ICBM launched from a Russian submarine in the White Sea.

A Navtex no-fly alert was issued for the White Sea on Dec. 9th, and photographers have recorded what appears to be the initial boost phase of a launch beneath the spiral (see inset). A rocket motor spinning out of control could indeed explain the spiral pattern, as shown in this video of a Trident II missile launched from a US submarine in 2007.


The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the launch and subsequent failure of a submarine-based missile