Strange 'Alien' Lights From NASA Aurora Experiment Looks Out Of This World

James Marshall
April 10, 2019

After two orange dots launched through the air, expanding glowing clouds and colourful lights appeared suddenly - but it was not an alien attack, as some outlets have been suggesting.

Auroras are spectacular light shows, but a recent display in the skies over northern Norway was out of this world - sort of.

But extraterrestrials weren't behind the demonstration.

This was also confirmed by NASA Wallops, a rocket launch range in Virginia which tweeted, "The AZURE mission successfully launched back-to-back aboard two sounding rockets in Norway tonight". This is the first of eight rocket missions to launch from Norwegian bases in Andøya and Svalbard.

"The more we learn about auroras, the more we understand about the fundamental processes that drive near-Earth space - a region that is increasingly part of the human domain, home not only to astronauts but also communications and Global Positioning System signals that can affect those of us on the ground on a daily basis", NASA's blog post reads. 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.

Traces dropped from a pair of NASA Black Brant XI sounding rockets produced a spectacular light show in Northern Europe.

The eye-catching lights were created by releasing two harmless gases into the atmosphere - trimethylaluminum as well as a mixture of barium and strontium - so researchers can study the paths of particles in the Earth's ionosphere, NASA says. These tracers will help NASA measure the churning vertical winds that mix electrically charged particles and energy through the atmosphere, recording the winds' density and temperature, NASA said. Theusner, writing in a description of the time-lapse on YouTube, said he "coincidentally" captured images of the rockets and of their subsequent light show.

The AZURE mission is created to make measurements of the atmospheric density and temperature with instruments on the rockets and deploying visible gas tracers, trimethyl aluminum (TMA) and a barium/strontium mixture, which ionizes when exposed to sunlight.

The blue lights triggered rumours about aliens, UFOs, with some even claiming that the pictures are fake- having been "edited" or 'photoshopped'.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER