Thousands of people in Russia witnessed an incredible array of glowing multi-colored clouds in the Ural Mountains region recently. Although scientists have theorized that they it may be a rare occurrence of the Northern Lights in the area or a phenomenon called “silver clouds,” others are not so sure. This is the same region that a huge meteorite struck in February, causing thousands of injuries.
Most reports came from Chelyabinsk, the largest city in the area. The video above was taken in the nearby town of Miass, which is where the lights are said to have been the brightest. The Siberian Times reports that the man in the video says:
This video is recorded at 2 am on the 16 June 2013. The sky over the town of Miass at 2 am was emblazoned with blue light. It unclear what kind of natural phenomenon it is. The glowing continues and just what it will end up with no-one knows.
Local television reported, “At first it appeared like white-blue shining light, later dirty red and yellow colors came out. The lights were completely gone by the dawn.”
One witness, Alexander Kazantsev, said:
I was walking back home with my friends at Lenina Prospekt when we saw the lights in the sky. At first we thought it was yet another meteorite flying towards us, then we thought about a strong searchlight…But the colored stripes were stable. Now I am sure it was a North Lights event. As far as I remember nothing like this even happened in Chelyabinsk.
Most scientists have ruled out the Northern Lights explanation. The Ural Mountain region is over 100 miles outside of the range that can view them. However, one scientist has another suggestion.
“Silver clouds” are a phenomenon that occurs 50 to 55 miles high in the mesosphere according to Vladimir Surdin, a scientist at the Stenberg Astronomical Institute in Moscow. He believes they were the cause of the strange lights seen in June.
He says, “You can usually see the ‘silver clouds’ around the summer solstice period, and after the sunset.”
However, the Chelyabinsk Hydro-Meteorological Centre says that the jury still is out on what caused the phenomenon. They told The Siberian Times:
So far it is hard to say what exactly it was. During last night our stations did not register any abnormal magnetic storms which must accompany the North Lights….But the idea about silver clouds must be checked too. Normally they are not visible from ground. We shall be able to understand the nature of these lights only when we carefully study photo and video taken last night.
The Siberian Times reported, “One blogger said his grandmother had seen a similar phenomenon in the Chelyabinsk sky in 1957.”
A giant meteorite and now mysterious glowing multi-colored clouds have made it an exciting year for the region. The local residents must be wondering what is in store for them next.