The illuminated ball looming over the forest was seen clearly in the town of Salekhard right on the Arctic Circle, but was also visible over a swathe of northern Siberia in the night sky. Residents from Yamalo-Nenets region reported 'shivers down their spines' and the social media went alive with claims of aliens arriving in an awesome UFO.
'The glowing ball rose from behind the trees and moved in my direction.'
Pictures: Sergey Anisimov
The extraordinary sight was captured by leading Siberian photographer Sergey Anisimov who admitted:
"At first I was taken aback for a few minutes, not understanding what was happening. 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. The ball began to turn into an arc and gradually dissipated."
"This is such a vision!' Pictures: Alexey Yakovlev
After the multi-coloured light show was over he went home.
"Kids (5-6 years old) walking in the yard emotionally began to tell me about an unusual phenomenon, using the words 'aliens', 'the portal to another dimension' and the like...."
This was the launch of a Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile from Plesetsk cosmodrome aimed at the Kura testing range in Kamchatka on the country's Pacific coast. Picture: The Siberian Times
Another photographer Alexey Yakovlev spotted the spectacle at Strezhevoi, in the north of Tomsk region, some 840 kilometres away.
"And at first I thought - it is such a radiance of such an unusual form - round in shape. But gradually the ball began to expand, it became clear that this is not some radiance ... and it became scary ...
'It's a gap in the space-time continuum.'
"It's good that I was not alone... they made it clear that the group of people cannot hallucinate. This is such a vision!"
Anastasia Boldyreva posted simply: 'Aliens arrived.'
Vasily Zubkov said:
"I went out to smoke a cigarette and thought it was the end of the world."
'I went out to smoke a cigarette and thought it was the end of the world.' Pictures: Vkontakte
Another local Nurgazy Taabaldiev said:
"It's a gap in the space-time continuum."
In fact the reason photographers were out watching the sky was an amazing show of northern lights - or Aurora Borealis - but there was an extra dimension too. This was the launch of a Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile from Plesetsk cosmodrome aimed at the Kura testing range in Kamchatka on the country's Pacific coast.
The launch was one of several last night in exercises by the Russian strategic nuclear forces, as confirmed by the Russian defence ministry. It was the the trace of the Topol rocket - capable of carrying nuclear missiles - that caused this extraordinary phenomenon in the sky.
As photographer Yakovlev posted accurately:
"It seems I accidentally shoot the launch of a secret space rocket from Plesetsk."
Source: The Siberian Times