Andøya Space Center / NASA Rocket launch – Azure Programme April 5th 2019 / Ole Salomonsen The scene gets really dramatic starting at 1:36.
If you were skeptical about UFOs, you might have come away a believer on April 5. Early that morning, the Andøya Space Center in Norway launched two sounding rockets high into the ionosphere. As the rockets unloaded powdered trimethyl aluminum and a barium-strontium mix at an altitude of 200 miles (320 km), it quickly lit up and expanded into colorful blobs and streamers. Observers in Norway, many of whom were out watching the northern lights, couldn’t believe their eyes. Police received calls of an imminent alien invasion.
Frame grab from the video showing the fading display at left from the first rocket and the newer one from the second (right). Ole Salomonsen
But the aliens were us. The experiment was part of the AZURE program (Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment), a NASA-funded mission to study the E and F layers of the ionosphere where the aurora happens. During the day, the sun’s ultraviolet light ejects electrons from atoms in these layers in a process called photoionization. At night, with the sun out of view, the electrons ...