Several Russian photographers were out to admire the aurora borealis last Thursday, October 26. They were then surprised to see a huge ball of light in the sky which disappeared suddenly, according to reports by the Siberian Times .
At first, a spectacular glowing orb of light seen floating above Siberia on Thursday night sparked fears of an alien invasion. But thanks to Science, we now have a more down-to-Earth explanation after all.
“At first I was taken aback for a few minutes, not understanding what was happening,” recalled photographer Sergey Anisimov.
“The glowing ball rose from behind the trees and moved in my direction. My first thought was about the most powerful searchlight, but the speed of changing everything around changed the idea of what was happening.”
“I went out to smoke a cigarette and thought it was the end of the world,” remarked another onlooker.
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) October 27, 2017
While these fears are understandable given the odd appearance of the ball, once again extra-terrestrial phenomenon is not involved.
Instead, the glowing orb was actually a byproduct of Russian missile tests being conducted in the region at the same time.
According to an update from the Russian defense ministry, the tests involved the firing of a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from Plesetsk towards the Kura test range in Kamchatka, along with three drills involving ballistic missiles fired from two nuclear submarines.
“These were indeed missile tests,” astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics told National Geographic.