June 23, 2015

SUBJECT: Northern Lights, Fireflies and a UFO


northern lights ufo
Northern Lights light up the skies in Minnesota and other surprises too! Check out that blurry object in the upper right-hand corner...

Last night's Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) put on quite a show across North America. The amazing part was that it was frickin' clear here in SE MN for the entire night. That hasn't happened in a while. What a magnificent show!

It was also a little creepy too. After reviewing over 2,500 images, I discovered that something very fast and strangely blurry streaked across the sky during the event. At approximately 10:45 pm CDT, an object appears in 12 frames of the recorded images. Each image is 8 seconds in duration. That means the object was in this frame-of-view for 96 seconds and it probably was visible over a good portion of the sky for longer than that.

Now before you start thinking Alan has finally gone completely off his rocker, I do not believe in Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, Men In Black, Ann Coulter and little green men. UFO's are Unidentified Flying Objects. Stuff that can't be identified. And until I can figure out what it was, it's just not identifiable.

My guess is that it was some form of polar-orbiting spacecraft that was ejecting material. Maybe a recently fired rocket? Or a spacecraft doing a burn? The fact that it appears fuzzy would seem to indicate that there was some form of gaseous cloud being illuminated by the sun in space.

The fact that the cloud is whitish in color leads me to believe it was reflecting sunlight versus reflected city lights which are gold-yellow in color. Whatever it was, it was moving fast and due north. I often see polar-orbitting satellites that follow the same trajectory and speed, but this was a fuzzy blob, not a pinpoint of light.

Here's a close-up of the blurry object. It appears as a line since the camera's shutter was open for 8 seconds.

UPDATE: The UFO mystery has been solved!!! It was a satellite that was launched by the European Space Agency from Kourou, French Guyana. The Sentinel-2A rocket was launched at 01:51:58 UT and followed the trajectory seen here in the above image.

For more details, click here.

Besides the UFO, there was a strange stratus-like appearance of very thin clouds that appeared after the northern lights had subsided. This can be easily be seen in the video of the timelapse...see below.

One thing that images or time-lapse photography cannot reveal was the phenomenal pulsating of the sky. The sky was flickering and flashing with color. It was an amazing site to see. I have seen many northern light displays and this was one of the best!

The deer, raccoons, skunks, opossums were kept entertained by a crazy photographer shouting oohs and aahs throughout the night. Could tonight bring round 2?


While you were sleeping from Alan Stankevitz on Vimeo.

While You Were Sleeping - A time-lapse video of the Northern Lights taken on June 23, 2015

Check out the 18-second mark when the UFO streaks across the sky. The yellow-green streaks seen throughout the video are fireflies trying to compete with the northern lights.

(Click on the Vimeo logo (bottom right) to watch directly in Vimeo in HD or download to your computer for the best viewing. You can also view this video on Youtube.)

marvin the martian

—Alan Stankevitz


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