It goes without saying that Northern Norway doesn’t get flooded with tourists during the dark winter. But there is one group that never fails us during the winter months: The Japanese. Japanese love the Northern Lights and will gladly defy the dark and cold Arctic to catch a glimpse of the dancing lights in the sky – and hopefully get some good photos.
I guess it is no coincidence then, that it was a group of Japanese scientists who used the rocket range at Andøya, Nordland to perform an interesting experiment this week: Creating artificial Northern Lights!
The way they would make this happen was to fire a rocket high up in the atmosphere, which would release a gas that reacted with the atmospheric oxygen and produced light. The light was observed from stations in Tromsø and Northern Sweden. The point of the experiment was not primarily to produce light, but to measure wind patterns in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
The artificial light only lasted for a few minutes and did not look like ordinary Aurora. Eye witnesses described it as a faint, fluorescent cloud. It was, however, visible over large parts of northern Scandinavia and the scientists called the project a success.
A similar experiment was actually performed from Andøya as early as 1985, and caused quite a stir in the UFO community.
Unfortunately I wasn’t around to get any photos of the “cloud”. The picture above is the real deal.