Residents of Norway were treated to an incredible lightshow early Wednesday morning, prompting many to blame UFOs for the strange phenomena. The event reportedly lasted for several minutes and appeared to be something akin to a spiraling galaxy with an ethereal blue tail trailing off back towards the horizon.

Early blame — at least from those not preparing for an alien invasion — pointed toward a failed Russian missile test, but representatives for the military there were mute on the topic just long enough for conspiracy theories to surface. Some said it was a dimension to another world, while others thought a black hole might be opening above the Earth.

Thankfully, the Russian daily newspaper Vedomosti finally resolved the mystery by reporting that a new Russian submarine-based intercontinental missile had suffered failure in its third stage. The paper quoted an unnamed source from the military, which still isn't officially speaking about the incident. From the NY Times,

The Bulava intercontinental missile has been billed as Russia's newest technological breakthrough to support its nuclear deterrent, but the repeated test failures are an embarrassment for the Kremlin. The 37-tonne, 12-metre (39-foot) intercontinental ballistic missile, known as the Bulava-30 inside the Russian military, is capable of carrying multiple warheads to the distances of up to 8,000 km (5,000 miles). Some sources say the Bulava can carry up to six warheads, others say up to 10.

With this latest failed test, analysts believe the Bulava missile is a doomed program that should be scrapped. That, or Russia could make a mint selling the technology for lightshows around the world.

For more pictures of the Norway event, click here.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Mystery lights over Norway baffle residents
Spectacular display turns out to be a failed Russian submarine missile.