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Rare blue aurora over Swedish Lapland puzzles scientists

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Rare blue aurora over Swedish Lapland puzzles scientists
Photo: Lights Over Lapland
14:14 CET+01:00
A rare blue aurora over Swedish Lapland has dazzled onlookers and baffled scientists, with some suggesting that a Russian missile could have caused the unusual phenomenon.

The intense blue light was spotted by aurora photographer and tour guide Oliver Wright, who works with photo tour company Lights Over Lapland.

"Oliver's seen hundreds and hundreds of auroras, but when he noticed this very intense, very vivid blue light in the sky, he contacted me immediately to say he'd never seen anything like it before," Chad Blakley, co-founder of Lights Over Lapland, told The Local. "The blue light was visible for more than 35 minutes."

Photo: Oliver Wright

Blue auroras are far rarer than green ones, but can occur when there are high levels of nitrogen and geomagnetic activity in the atmosphere. However, that was not the case on Thursday.

According to the SpaceWeather website, run by Nasa-affiliated scientist Tony Phillips, the aurora sighting coincided with a test-launch of several Russian ballistic missiles. Blue exhaust clouds from the missile were observed in Russia, and its possible that Thursday's sighting in Lapland was the same event rather than a natural phenomenon.

Photo: Lights Over Lapland

"It's happened twice in the past ten years that we've seen something slightly odd in the sky and it's turned out to be linked to Russian missiles," explained Blakley. "Once we saw a big blue spiral, and that was caused by a missile."

READ ALSO: 'I found the American dream in Swedish Lapland'



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