Tag Archives: norway

Norway is already selling more electric vehicles than conventional ones

Norway has become the first country in the world to sell more electric vehicles (EV) than petrol, hybrid, and diesel engines, figures from 2020 show. The achievement is part of a long-term government scheme to lead the EV revolution, giving tax breaks and financial incentives to encourage the purchase of more sustainable vehicles.

Image credit: Flickr / CityOfStPete

Electric vehicles accounted for 54.3% of new car sales in 2020, up from 42% in 2019, according to figures published by the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). Meanwhile, vehicles with diesel-only engines have fallen from a peak of 75.7% of the Norwegian vehicle market in 2011 to just 8.6% last year.

Carmakers have had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi was the market leader in 2020, according to OFV’s report, selling 9,227 of its e-tron vehicles in the country. Tesla’s Model 3, the 2019 leader, was pushed into second place with 7,770 sales. Volkswagen’s ID.3, a compact electric car, ranked third with 7,754 cars sold.

Øyvind Thorsen, the chief executive of OFV, said that with these numbers the country is well-positioned for its 2025 target to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars. EV’s would surpass 65% of the Norwegian market in 2021, according to a forecast by the country’s EV Association, which anticipates that sales will continue to grow.

More models are expected to be brought onto the Norwegian market later this year, helping sales move forward even more. Tesla’s mid-sized sports utility vehicle, the Model Y, will arrive in Norway over the next few months, as will the first electric SUVs from Ford, BMW, and Volkswagen, according to OFV’s report. In other words, the surge of electric cars shows no signs of slowing down.

Although unit sales are higher in China and the US, Norway is usually described as the poster child of the EV revolution. That’s because there are more EVs on Norwegian roads as a proportion of total vehicles than anywhere else in the world. It’s all about an electric transformation in this small country with just five million people, which owes much of its status to oil.

Nowadays though, almost all of Norway’s domestic energy comes from hydropower. This means that a switch to EVs is a much greener equation than for countries that rely on fossil fuels for their electricity. To make the switch, the government has been investing a lot since 1990 in charging infrastructure and financial incentives.

The government gave plenty of incentives to EV owners such as lowering road tax, removing charges for toll roads and public ferries, and offering free parking in municipal car parks. The sales tax was also removed from new EV purchases in 2001 and drivers were allowed to use bus lanes from 2005 onwards.

But it’s not just about cars, as Norway wants to revolutionize other ways of transportation. Scandinavian Airlines is working with Airbus on hybrid research and Avinor, the state-owned operator of the country’s airports, said it wants to use electric-powered aircraft on short-haul flights by 2030. The country also is a world leader in the transition to battery technology for shipping.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg spoke last year on the importance of electrification. “For most countries, the first phase of the green shift is the transition from coal to renewables. Thanks to our waterfalls, Norway has already entered the next phase: How can we use our clean energy to electrify other sectors? We need to replace the fossil fuels used in other sectors,” she said.

No pedestrian or cyclist died on Oslo’s streets last year

The streets of Oslo are likely the safest among all major capitals of the world. For instance, last year not one pedestrian or cyclist died in the city’s traffic. In fact, just a single person died in Oslo’s traffic at all, an adult male whose vehicle struck a fence. This level of road safety is unheard of for a city which numbers more than 673,000 residents.

Credit: Pixabay.

Oslo wasn’t always so safe to live in. In 1975, 41 people died on the Norwegian capital’s roadways. But instead of rising (as is the case in many parts of the world), that number has slowly dropped. So, what happened?

Especially during the last five years, the city’s authorities enacted a series of dramatic steps meant to improve road safety.

It all started with replacing almost all of the city’s on-street parking with bike lanes and sidewalks in 2017. This led to a dramatic increase in the number of trips taken by bike in the city. For instance, in 2017, the proportion of trips taken by bike in Oslo was 8.3%, whereas today it is 16%. The city is aiming for 25% by 2025. Having people ride more bikes is not only healthier and more eco-friendly — but it’s also safer.

In addition, as of 2019, all vehicles have been banned from the city’s center, a move that had been planned ever since 2015.

Roadways around Oslo’s schools have been given special attention with the introduction of so-called “heart zones”, where streets are specially designed to protect school children and students walking and biking in the area. Some streets are even closed to cars during school hours.

“The more you separate the different road groups, the less the risk of serious traffic accidents and then we see that the speed limit has been lower on several roads,” said Christoffer Solstad Steen, a spokesman for a Norwegian traffic organization Trygg Trafikk. 

Authorities also sought to tame aggressive drivers in other neighborhoods by drastically lowering speed limits inside and outside downtown areas.

Outside Oslo, the country is also making remarkable progress. No child under 15 died in roadways crashes anywhere in Norway during 2019. The entire Scandinavian nation experienced only 110 traffic deaths last year out of a population of 5.3 million, marking a fourfold decline since 1985.

Driver behavior is also a significant aspect — and Norwegians are one of the safer drivers out there.

Meanwhile, 4,000 children are killed each year on average in traffic collisions on U.S. roads.

“This is no cushion. Every serious accident is one too many,” Ingrid Dahl Hovland, the country’s top road administrator, told Aftenposten. “The fight against traffic death and serious injuries in traffic continues with unabated strength.”

All of these measures are part of the Oslo’s pledge to the Vision Zero strategy, whose goal is to eliminate not just all pedestrian and cyclist deaths but also all serious injuries. About 50 U.S. cities have also joined the Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths, but these lagging far behind European cities.

But there is some progress. Curbed reports that New York City banned cars on the city’s 14th Street busway and will soon charge a fee for cars to enter Manhattan by the end of 2020.

It’s so hot in Finland’s Lapland the reindeer have hit the beach

The heatwave in Finland is causing some unusual scenes: a pair of reindeer were spotted on the beach in northern Finland.

They bother no one and no one bothers them. Image credits: This is Finland.

It’s been a sizzling couple of days in Scandinavia. The heatwave that’s been ravaging central and western Europe has migrated northwards, making for some tropical days in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Authorities have issued heat warnings, urging people to stay indoors if possible and stay hydrated. But humans aren’t the only ones affected by the scorching temperatures.

In Finland, authorities have warned motorists to be mindful of moose, who are crossing more roads than usual in their attempts to find water and quench their thirst. Elsewhere, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier this week of reindeer “queuing at the Kela office” — after a group of reindeer gathered outside a social benefits agency in a Lapland village of Inari to stand in the shade.

But without a doubt, the star of the show were the two reindeer that sought some respite from the heat on a beach in Lapland — Finland’s northernmost region known for its Christmas spirit and its reindeer. They didn’t seem to care about anything other than cooling down.

“Many people took photos and it didn’t seem to bother them in the slightest. Children were playing nearby and that didn’t disturb them either,” said Johanna Koivisto, who snapped a picture of the resting duo.

Koivisto said she wasn’t surprised too surprised to see reindeer at the beach — it’s become quite a common sight, as temperatures in Finland continues to rise. Temperatures at the beach were around 28 °C (82 F).

The annual Finnish mean temperature has risen 2.3 °C since preindustrial times. Warming has been greatest in early winter, nearly 5 °C, but summer temperatures are harder to bear for wildlife. The month of July 2018 in Finland had the highest-ever temperatures recorded by the Finnish Meteorological Institute since recordings started in 1838, although this month is very similar.

July temperatures in Finland average 13 to 17°C (55-63 F), but pass 30°C in some parts during heatwaves. The northernmost municipality of Utsjoki, north of the Arctic Circle, experienced a record-breaking temperature of 33.3 °C (92 °F) in July 2018.

As for reindeer, the pair that made it to the beach can consider themselves lucky. The climate crisis which our world is facing is devastating for reindeer populations,  and more than 50% of their population has collapsed  over the past few decades. Reindeer in Lapland, like those all over the Arctic, are finding it extremely difficult to cope with the high temperatures.

Norway to invest $13 million in “Doomsday” Seed Vault

Norway will be spending 100 million crowns ($13 million) to upgrade its so-called “Doomsday” Seed Vault. The facility built in the Arctic 10 years ago already hosts more than 850,000 seed samples donated by nations from all over the planet, safekeeping them in the event of a catastrophic event.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Image credits: Miksu / Wikipedia.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a planetary catastrophe hits the Earth? Well, Norway has. In the Arctic, on a remote island, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) has been safekeeping seeds from all around the world to ensure food security… just in case. The seed vault was built to ensure against the loss of seeds during large-scale regional or global crises. Storing seeds in the vault is free to users, with Norway’s government and other donors (such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) covering the costs.

Seeds are kept at -18 °C (-3 °F), and should be protected against a number of potential disasters, ranging from global warming to nuclear war.

Now, the vault will be getting a new, much-needed upgrade.

“[The revamp will cover] construction of a new, concrete-built access tunnel, as well as a service building to house emergency power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment that emits heat through the tunnel,” the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

Norwegian agriculture and food minister Jon Georg Dale said that the vault will continue to be a reliable seed bank for the entire planet.

“[It] will ensure that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault can continue to offer the world’s gene banks a secure storage space in the future,” Dale explained in the government statement. “It is a great and important task to safeguard all the genetic material that is crucial to global food security.”

Ironically, it was global warming itself that threatened the vault. In 2016, an unexpected permafrost thaw caused water to flood a portion of the structure. No fundamental damage was reported, but it was a worrying event, which led to this improvement being planned.

Although there hasn’t been a cataclysmic event, the seed vault has already proven its utility. In 2015, some 116,000 seed samples in the SGSV were transferred to a seed bank in Aleppo that had been damaged by the recent Syrian Civil War. The seeds were used, grown, and then new samples were sent back for storage at the SGSV.

“This demonstrates that the seed vault is a worldwide insurance for food supply for future generations,” Agriculture Minister Jon Georg Dale said in a statement.

Although we all hope the seed vault will never be needed, it’s an important reminder that sometimes, disasters do happen — and if they do, it’s better to be prepared. Just in case.

The Hjertefølgers’ cob house might just be the coziest place in the subarctic

In the frozen reaches of Norway, one family is warming up in a beautiful cob home. Under a dome!

Nature house.

Image via Inhabitat.

Norway — not exactly a tropical paradise. But the Hjertefølgers have been living what many of us would consider a dream here since 2013. Tucked away on the frigid Sandhornøya island, the family is living a sustainable lifestyle without sacrificing comfort or glam. Their three-story cob home (built with sand, water, clay, and other organic materials) is insulated from the ice in a solar geodesic dome by Solardome.

Despite boasting five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and six inhabitants, the house fits snugly inside the 25-foot-high dome. In fact, there’s even room for a garden — where the Hjertefølgers grow much of their food. Apple trees, cherries, plums, apricots, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, various herbs, squash, even kiwis languish in the greenhouse-like interior of the dome, safe from Norway’s cutting winds and crushing snow. And, despite the area’s complete lack of sunlight for over three months a year, they provide much of the produce the six-strong family needs.

House interior.

Image via Inhabitat.

In contrast to the land’s frigid trappings, the home’s interior is warm and welcoming — while sacrificing none of Norway’s breathtaking beauty. The family can even enjoy the Northern Lights (the real ones!) without ever passing the doorstep.

“We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house,” Ingrid Hjertefølger told Inhabitat. “The process changed us, shaped us.”

The house — which was built from the ground up by the Hjertefølgers and friends — has been housing the family for three years now. They say that it has a unique atmosphere to it, something that they feel would never have been the case with “a house someone else has planned and built for [them], or a house with corners and straight lines.”

The family has a blog that you can follow, here. If anyone needs me for the next few hours, just know I’ll be there, pining over how awesomely cool (but warm) their home is and over their carrots. Their carrots look ridiculously plump.

Yara Birkeland.

Norway plans to launch the world’s first autonomous, fully electric ship next year

The world’s first fully autonomous, fully electric commercial cargo ship will be hitting Norway’s coastal waters as early as next year.

Yara Birkeland.

A rendering of the ship’s design.
Image credits YARA.

Once you start working on autonomous cars, there’s only a step (more likely a swim) to go to autonomous ships. In broad lines the tech is similar, the role is similar, it’s just that the surface they travel on is only a tad similar.

So it may not come as a huge surprise that people are working on designing ships that can navigate themselves — but just how close we are to a fully working such vessel likely will. Norway is expecting its first fully autonomous, fully electric commercial cargo ship to hit the waters next year.

Boaty McRobotface

Building and development costs on the to-be-christened Yara Birkeland is estimated to cost some US$25 million overall. The work will be carried out under a joint program by Yara International ASA, a Norwegian agriculture firm, and the Kongsberg Gruppen, who specialize in high-end technology.

It’s not only a test bed for maritime innovation — Yara Birkeland will be ferrying agricultural fertilizers across 37 nautical miles (68.5 km/42.5 miles) of coast to the port of Larvik from a local fertilizer plant. A suite of GPS, AIS, infrared cameras, radar, and lidar will be aiding the ship it on this quest, and ensure it stays on course within 12 nautical miles of the coast without colliding with anything.

Seems like a lot of cash to shell out for a fertilizer cargo boat, right? Well, the company expects to save a lot of money with the Yara Birkeland. Without a human crew on board to feed and pay for, and with fuel costs out of the picture, the ship is estimated to eventually slash operating costs by up to 90%.

And if there’s no crew, you don’t need crew quarters, right? Or kitchens. Toilets won’t see much use either, so those can be scrapped. The final stroke is to go with electric engines. They’re both cheaper to run and smaller than their combustion counterparts, which are pretty large, maintenance heavy and need fuel tanks. The ship will be fully electric, powered by a 4MWh battery pack. All that free space means you can make the ship smaller and lighter without cutting down on its transport capacity. The ship’s design is very neat and compact (by ship standards) judging from this video:

Yara Birkland will also help make Norway that tad greener and less congested, by replacing the 40,000 truck trips currently made annually to transport fertilizer on this route.

Helper oars

Yara Birkland’s first few days afloat, which are “planned to start in the latter half of 2018” will require some human supervision. During this testing and teething period, a single shipping container will be installed on-deck to act as a bridge. A small crew will monitor the ship from here, to ensure that all systems work as they should and to be on-hand in case they don’t. If this early stage is successful, the bridge will be moved off-shore for remote monitoring in 2019, and the ship will be fully autonomous by 2020.

At 34 nautical miles, the ship’s mission doesn’t seem all that impressive, but what matters here is for the vessel to prove it works. If successful it can easily be repurposed to longer routes, “maybe even move our fertilizer from Holland all the way to Brazil,” said Yara’s project leader Petter Ostbo for the Wall Street Journal. The technology bound to be taken up by shipbuilders if it proves its worth, so we’ll likely see a lot more autonomous ships in the future.

“Once the regulation is in place, I can see this spreading fast, there is a lot of interest from operators of coastal tankers, fish-transport vessels and supply ships that are knocking on our door,” said Kongsberg’s CEO Geir Haoy.

Norway to Brazil: If you keep destroying the Amazon, we’ll cut our $1bn funding

Since 2008, Norway has been offering financial support to Brazil (over $1.1 bn), in order for the latter country to preserve its rainforests and fight deforestation. Amidst rampant corruption, an impeached president, and a clear divide between what people want and what politicians want, the country seems unable (or unwilling) to respect its commitment. In response, Norway issued a blunt warning: stop what you’re doing and fast, or we’ll cut off the money.

Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Image credits: Neil Palmer.

The Scandinavian country committed to efforts not only to reduce its own carbon footprint but also to make an external, international contribution; and it works. Although deforestation in Brazil is at alarming levels, it’s much lower than the 19,000 sq km of cleared rainforest seen in 2005 alone. For a time, deforestation rates were going lower and lower, but now, they are on the rise again.

In a forthright letter to Brazil’s environment minister, José Sarney Filho, seen and quoted by the Guardian, Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s environment minister, expressed his concerns. Helgesen went further, saying that if trends continue, Norway will cut the funding.

“In 2015 and 2016 deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon saw a worrying upward trend.” He warned that this had already reduced Norway’s contributions and added: “Even a fairly modest further increase would take this number to zero,” Helgesen wrote.

At the core of this problem lies the fact that Brazilian authorities removed protection from large areas of the Amazon, weakening the licensing required for deforestation and agricultural implementation in rainforest environments. These issues are tightly connected with corruption scandals, bribes, and the threatening (sometimes killing) of indigenous people.

Annual deforestation in Brazil jumped by 29% to 8,000 sq km in 2016, dangerously close to the 8,500 sq km limit agreed by Brazil and Norway. Norwegian concerns are easy to understand — if the trends from past two years continue, the limit will certainly be crossed. The budgetary cuts to the environment ministry and other departments that protect the Amazon add even more reasons to worry.

Sometimes referred to as the “lungs” of the earth, the Amazon’s 390 billion trees absorb 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide a year; they also host the world’s largest biodiversity hotspot. This entire basin encompasses 7,000,000 square kilometres (2,700,000 sq mi), of which 5,500,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest. Not all of it is in Brazil — the country hosts 60% of the rainforest, giving it the largest responsibility.

The world’s tiniest game of Pac-Man is both awesome and educational

Studying microorganisms is hard work — and sometimes it can get a bit dull. To stave off the tedium of a day’s work in the lab, researchers from the Univeristy College of Southeast Norway now rely on watching games of Pac-Man, with a twist: the team re-created the iconic maze in tiny proportions to better understand the predator and prey behaviours of protozoans and rotifers.

Led by Professor Erik Andrew Johannessen of the Institute of Micro and Nano System Technology, a team of Norwegian scientists created the “Mikroskopisk Pacman” project, a nano-structure maze of under one millimeter in diameter. The role of Pac-Man is assumed by protozoans euglena and ciliate, with pseudocoelomate (in this case rotifers) acting as the Ghosts. While undeniably awesome, the project wasn’t put together for its fun factor alone, the team reports.

The maze forms a 3D environment that allows microorganisms to interact more naturally than the artificial medium of a 2D petri dish. The tiny canals inside the maze also resemble the structures these creatures navigate to in the wild.

To make it more accessible to the public, film director Adam Bartley lyslagt was brought in to create the Pac-Man themed map and film the “gameplay” between euglena and rotifers. Using micro scenography, Iyslagt captured the video above. The little creatures can be seen darting around for dear life — or a tasty meal.

The team behind the project says that it not only helped with their research but also with relaying their findings in a way people can understand better and are more engaged with, raising awareness of science. I’d say they hit the nail on the head here — I’m definitely engaged and aware.

We can also look forward to a sequel. The team said they’re focusing on creating more Pac-Man style levels in future projects, as well experiments based on other games.

I’m gonna need a smaller controller.

 

Norway is now the world’s leading whaling nation

Norway is killing more whales than Japan and Iceland combined.

This is how whaling should be – a historical and long-abandoned practice.

They get a lot of praise for their progressive society and high living standard, but at least in one regard, Norway definitely doesn’t deserve any praise: whaling. A new report released today, calls on the international community to respond to Norway’s systematic whaling expeditions and efforts to loosen international regulations on whaling.

“As one of the world’s most modern and prosperous countries, Norway’s whaling is an anachronism,” said Dr. Sandra Altherr, biologist with ProWildlife. “Slaughtering whales to eat and trade has no place in Norway and serves only to diminish the country’s international reputation.”

But the country’s whaling industry doesn’t seem interested in preserving the international reputation. The Norwegian government itself is funding a number of projects to promote not only whale sales, but also alternative commercial products derived from whales, including dietary supplements, medicines, and cosmetics. In fact, whale oil seems to be a highly desired product in the Norwegian cosmetic industry.

“We were stunned that a Norwegian whaling company is actively selling health and beauty products manufactured from whale oil,” said Susan Millward, AWI executive director. “This is not the 1800s. It is incomprehensible that such a modern nation produces skin creams sourced from an inherently cruel industry.”

The sheer number of killed whales is also saddening. Frozen in Time: How Modern Norway Clings to Its Whaling Pastproduced by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), OceanCare and Pro-Wildlife, writes that Norway is not only the world’s leading whaler, but it kills more whales than the second and third place combined. Also, Norway uses their international leverage to escape criticism and carry on with business as usual.

“The IWC has not formally commented on Norway’s whaling since 2001 and the international community has not presented a demarche to Norway since 2006,” stated Sigrid Lüber, OceanCare president. “For as long as this remains the case, Norway will continue to let Iceland and Japan take the heat for whaling and maintain its business as usual.”

It’s indeed an anachronic situation, and one that shouldn’t really happen — not when we’re talking about a nation like Norway, and not in 2016.

Norway’s $900 billion fund will stop investing in coal

Norway’s Parliament has agreed that their sovereign energy fund should divest from investments in coal in an attempt to mitigate climate change.

Image via Resources Roots.

The Government Pension Fund of Norway is a fund into which the surplus wealth produced by Norwegian petroleum income is deposited. It is the largest equity fund in the world, amounting about 1% of total global equity markets. The fund is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management, under directives from the Advisory Council on Ethics. They have forfeited doing business with several major companies (including the likes of Boeing or BAT) because of unethical behaviors. Now, they want to move away from what they consider to be a most unethical industry – coal – in order to limit the effects of climate change.

“Investing in coal companies poses both a climate risk and a future economic risk,” the parties said in a joint statement. “Coal is in a class by itself as the source with the greatest responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions, so this is a great victory in the battle against climate change,” opposition Labour MP Torstein Tvedt Solberg added.

Naturally, the fact that such a big player divests from coal is a major change, and an indicator that more problems are on their way for the coal industry. Just recently, HSBC announced their partners to be careful when investing in fossil fuels. Stanford University pledged in May 2014 that its $18.7 billion endowment would no longer be used to invest in coal, and more and more funds are following suite.

For Norway, whose coal holdings come at about $11 billion, this is a bold move, and one that we applaud.

Norway to pay Liberia to stop cutting its woods

Norway will pay impoverished African country Liberia $150m (£91.4m) to entirely stop deforestation by 2020.

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its economy is extremely underdeveloped. Mix this current situation with the recent Ebola outbreak, and you get a recipe for disaster. Logging is a simple source of revenue in such situations, and Norway wants to put a stop to that.

Liberia is of special importance as it hosts about 43% of the Upper Guinean rainforests. It is also a global diversity hotspot, with species such as western chimpanzees, forest elephants and leopards. As it always happens, when people are impoverished and are in dire need of money, they don’t really care about the biodiversity, and illegal logging grew more and more every year.

Now, the Norwegian and Liberian government have reached an agreement to end this situation. As part of the agreement, Liberia agrees to place 30% or more of its forest estate under protected area status by 2020. It will also send funds to communities to help protect the forests.

“We hope Liberia will be able to cut emissions and reduce poverty at the same time,” said Jens Frolich Holte, a political adviser to the Norwegian government, speaking to the BBC on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in New York.

This is not a novel approach – several contracts have been signed previously, but it’s the first time a national deal has been signed.

“We have funded efforts in Indonesia and Brazil, but I think this is the first time we have entered a deal on a country level.”

However, a huge problem still remains: how will the new laws be enforced? In a country where the economy is almost inexistent and corruption floods every office, preventing trees from being cut seems like quite a big challenge. Experts have made excited, but cautious statements:

“There is the potential for this to go wrong, both Norway and Liberia will have to make sure that this deal does not get affected by corruption, but I am cautiously confident it can be done,” said Patrick Alley, the director of campaign group Global Witness. “It’s really good news, it’s transformational for Liberia when all the news coming out of there is bad – I think this will be a real boost.”

We’ll just have to see how it works. If the results are positive, I look forward to see this kind of partnership implemented in more areas of the world.

 

Strange sky spiral freaks out Norway

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It was Thursday night when locals from Norway started to notice a strange, rotating light that just baffled them. It was visible long enough to be seen, photographed and recorded by half of country. The blue light seemed to appear from behind the top of a mountain; it rose, began to spin, then began to circulate.

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Naturally, as it became more and more visible, the questions became more and more pressing. Witnesses recorded it seemed to be computer generated, and nothing like auroras or some other natural phenomenon.

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“We are used to seeing lots of auroras here in Arctic Norway, but on my way to work this morning I saw something completely unexpected. Between 7:50 and 8:00 a.m. local time, there was a strange light in the sky. It consisted initially of a green beam of light similar in color to the aurora with a mysterious rotating spiral at one end. This spiral then got bigger and bigger until it turned into a huge halo in the sky with the green beam extending down to the earth.”, said a witness.

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Because it was visible to so many, it’s obvious that it took place at a really high altitude, which was confirmed by astronauts from all over the world. However… they weren’t able to explain what it is.

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“My first thought was that it was a fireball meteor, but it has lasted far too long. It may have been a missile in Russia, but I can not guarantee that it is the answer.”, astronomer Knut Jorgen Roed Odegaard

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However, the Russian government strongly denied this possibility (big surprise, huh?), and no firm evidence was found to support this theory. Of course there were claims that it was an UFO (I can only imagine what people would have said if this happened in the US). So, until this is sorted out, I hope they come in peace (whether it’s the aliens or the Russians).