Thursday, December 10, 2009
Woooaaah! Freaky Man!
Mysterious spirals in the sky over Norway even got onto the Australian evening news. Evidence is firming that this is a result of a rocket malfunction that occurred high in the upper atmosphere. The basic idea is that material jetting out from a spiralling missile would form stable spirals in the upper atmosphere.
Phil Plait discusses this at Bad Astronomy and has a video of a simulation that generates the spiral seen. See Spaceweather for lots of links to images and videos, particularly this image which appears to show the glowing spiral cone originating in the end of a booster trail.