ROCKET PHOTOBOMBS AURORA OUTBURST: On Friday night in Sweden, aurora tour guide Oliver Wright led a group of 8 under the starry skies of Abisko National Park hoping for a glimpse of the aurora borealis. "Suddenly," says Wright, "one of the guests shouted 'what's that?' I grabbed my binoculars and saw this amazing crescent-shaped thing moving slowly across the sky." It was not the aurora borealis:
"I had never seen anything like it," says Wright, "so I called Chad Blakley of Lights over Lapland, and he confirmed that his live webcam saw it too." A four-frame animation shows it moving slowly across the sky for more than 20 minutes.
What was it? Mystery solved: Earlier in the day, an Atlas V rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying the Worldview 4 satellite to orbit. Later, the rocket's Centaur upper stage vented its excess fuel, creating the ghostly cloud over Sweden.
Another great night in Abisko! Massive auroras and an unidentified object are dancing in the sky above Abisko National Park right now! Our group of eight lucky aurora watchers were out in the National Park enjoying a fantastic aurora display this evening when something very odd appeared in the sky. At around 10:40 PM local time I received a text message from Lights Over Lapland guide Oliver Wright informing me that he had just seen and photographed something spectacular, that he could not easily recognise. I immediately checked our webcam and I was blown away by what I saw – a crescent shaped beam of light, with what appears to be some sort of a flowing, cloud like tail. At first I thought the object was lens flare produced by the bright Moon, but the object has moved from one area of the sky to another in four sequential photographs captured over a 20 minute timeframe. Seeing this incredible phenomenon share the sky with a powerful corona must have truly been a once in a lifetime event for our guests. You can see all of the frames from the sequence on our live webcam here: http://lightsoverlapland.com/webcams/ Can anyone help us understand exactly what we saw in the sky tonight?