NASA science writer Tony Phillips has hypothesized that a malfunctioning Russian rocket was responsible for the mysterious luminous spiral recently spotted over Norway.
"Circumstantial evidence is mounting that the phenomenon was caused by a malfunctioning rocket, possibly an ICBM launched from a Russian submarine," Phillips wrote in a SpaceWeather update.
"A Navtex no-fly alert was issued for the White Sea on Dec. 9th, and photographers appear to have recorded the initial boost phase of a launch below the spiral. A rocket motor spinning out of control could indeed explain the spiral pattern, so this explanation seems plausible, although it has not yet been confirmed."
The enigmatic phenomenon was previously described as a "huge halo" in the sky by Nick Banbury of Harstad who witnessed the strange lights while on his way to work.
"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," claimed Harstad.