Norway spiral: Space aliens welcoming Obama?

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    The Norway spiral. A strange light phenomenon is seen in the night sky above Skjervoy in northern Norway early Wednesday. According to some reports, the unexplained light may have been caused by the failure of a new Russian anti-submarine-based intercontinental missile which was being tested across the Norwegian-Russian border.
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The Norway spiral?

Not convinced that President Obama has done enough to win the Nobel Peace Prize? You're not alone. A CNN poll released yesterday shows that less than one in five Americans believe that Obama has done enough to win the honor.

How to explain it? Maybe space aliens have infiltrated the Noble Peace Prize committee and are big fans of the president.

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Outlandish? Perhaps, but don't tell that to the Norwegians. News of Obama winning the award isn't the only thing on their minds today. They're talking about UFOs. Or one giant UFO. And the world is paying attention to it too.

It all happened yesterday morning at about 7:50 local time. Reports are that a "giant, luminous spiral appeared in the northern sky."

It wasn't a quick flash either. The light stuck around. And grew. It's gets even better...

"It stopped mid-air, then began to move in circles. Within seconds a giant spiral had covered the entire sky," reports the UK's Daily Mail. "Then a green-blue beam of light shot out from its centre - lasting for ten to 12 minutes before disappearing completely."

Northern Lights

Whoa. Too much?

Understood. Because mysterious, colorful lights in the northern hemisphere could easily be explained as Aurora Bourealis. But probably not this time.

This was a true spiral (think the opposite of what Tim Tebow throws). NBC's Brian Williams sure sounded stumped last night when he discussed it.

"Question is, what was it?" he asked. "Some of the guesses range from a Russian missile, which Russia is denying by the way, to a comet, or some other type of object."

Big news

Whatever it was, citizens deluged the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) with phone calls to report the lights and many sent emails with photos and videos taken from cell phones.

"This is the talk of the day here in this past of Norway," said NRK reporter Martin Steinholt.

Maybe the population was enjoying a little too much eggnog? The Discover Channel's Ian O'Neil ruled that out.

"One thing's for sure, when I spent five months living in the Arctic Circle (on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard), I never saw anything quite like this in the sky -- no matter how much øl I'd consumed," he said.

It's Russia's fault

So what was it? Most people seem to be blaming Russia.

Steinholt said the most plausible explanation was that "this was a Russian rocket fired from a testing site near the White Sea and something went wrong with it," adding that it could have exploded or was a simple misfire.

That's something that Phil Plait over at the Bad Astronomy blog buys into.

"A rocket got out of control, perhaps losing a stabilizer, and started to spiral," Plait hypothesized. "The two spirals, different in shape, size, and color, indicate something happened in the middle of all this (the rocket second stage fired while still spinning, or something else started leaking out), changing the rocket’s direction. Then, when the fuel or whatever ran out, the white spiral began to disappear from the inside out as the material expanded in space."

Make sense? CBS seems to be pointing in that direction.

"A respected Russian daily first reported this morning that the third stage of a sophisticated intercontinental missile failed," said the CBS reporter.

But how could it produce that spiral shape? Check out the video below...

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