On the morning of April 6th our inbox was full of hundreds of messages from fans located all over the world asking us about the “strange blue lights” that our webcam captured while we were sleeping. After reading through the messages, we eagerly checked our equipment and were shocked by what we saw. Between 12:24 and 1:04 AM our webcam captured an incredible sequence of ten photos that seemed to show a rocket launch followed by neon blue, man-made auroras.
We reached out to our friend Dr. Tony Phillips who runs the world’s leading website which focuses on the night sky (spaceweather.com) and he immediately confirmed our suspicions: our webcam had captured the launch of NASA’s AZURE mission. The purpose of the mission was to release a mix of gasses in the atmosphere, trimethylaluminum and a blend of barium and strontium. These gasses were dispersed in the atmosphere and measured with specialised instruments by scientists back on the ground. The information gathered during the mission will help us gain a better understanding of how the northern lights work and will potentially answer questions that aurora watchers have only been able to hypothesize about until this point in time.
While the AZURE mission’s main purpose was researching the northern lights, we must say that the unintended side effect was one of the most beautiful displays of natural and man-made beauty we have ever seen. As the rockets fired their payload of gas, the result was a pair of blue clouds with a head that resembled a jellyfish and several translucent tentacles dancing below. This combination of unexplained lights sharing the sky with an aurora display that seemed to be intensifying with every click of the shutter truly must have been the kind of things that dreams are made of for anyone who happened to be watching the scene unfold from the ground in Abisko National Park below.
Our webcam has been capturing a new image of the night sky above Abisko National Park every five minutes for nearly a decade and this is far and away the most interesting thing that its lens has ever been fortunate enough to see! The moral of the story is this: you never know what you will experience during one of our adventures.
Book your trip of a lifetime with us today and you might just see the next incredible thing happen in the sky above Abisko!