Estimation of the Location, Trajectory, Size, and Altitude
of the "Norway Spiral" Phenomenon
Tony Spell, M.Sc. Ocean Engineer
A seemingly structured and complex display of swirling light, now
referred to as the "Norway Spiral," was observed by many on the dawn of
December 9th, 2009. Despite the official cause being reported as
a Russian missile failure at high altitude, this event has continued to
generate much debate and controversy over its origin and nature.
Part of the debate has centered around pinpointing the actual location
of this phenomenon, as it was primarily witnessed from the northwest
regions of Norway, leading some to conclude that it must have occurred
over Norway, while others argue that it was much further east over
Russia. In this study, we focus only on the location and
progression of the event, through the process of intersecting multiple
vectors or "ley lines" established through the superposition of
Norway's ubiquitous mountainous backgrounds in Google Earth's 3D
terrain model, with photographs of this phenomenon at known
locations. The results locate the event over the Russian Kola
Peninsula and province of Murmansk near the west coastline of the White
Sea. The development of the spiral occurred approximately 60
miles (97 km) inland (west) of the White Sea then traveling northeast
across the peninsula and out over the Barents Sea, with the final
dissipation of the spiral occurring approximately 143 miles (230 km)
northeast of its initial development and some 70 miles (113 km)
offshore. In addition, the center of the spiral was calculated at
a very high altitude ranging from 107 to 166 miles (172 to 267 km)
during its progression, with the initial size of the spiral measured at
approximately 95 miles across (153 km). At the time of
dissipation and expansion of the void, the spiral grew to an
approximate scaled width of 391 miles (629 km), reaching a remarkable
altitude along the upper edge some 351 miles (565 km) above sea
level. Due to these great altitudes, exceeding the established
astronautics/aeronautics boundary of 62 miles (100 km), this event
occurred primarily in space, and therefore was not subject to
significant atmospheric effects. Although the spiral appears to
be slow moving in the video, the vast distance of the observation
from over 530 miles (853 km) only gives this illusion. From the video frame
captures and the subsequent vector analysis, the
estimated velocity of the spiral center along the trajectory was found
to exceed 8,000 mph (12,875 kph). The combined expansion of the
void and the north-northeast trajectory of the center, give an estimated
velocity of the leading edge of the void (northward) at an incredible
13,000 mph (20,920 kph).
In the early morning hours of December 9th, 2009, a spectacular phenomenon of spiraling
light was witnessed by many observers, primarily within the three
northern counties of Norway, but also as far south as Trøndelag, with
the most eastern observation reported from Puoltsa, Sweden. In
addition to a plethora of stunning pictures and videos, many theories
immediately flooded the internet, including but not limited to; a UFO,
meteor, comet, laser light show, black hole, worm hole, Tesla death
ray, and HAARP-like energy vortex of some kind generated either by the
EISCAT facility near Tromsø, Norway, or the Sura Ionospheric Heating Facility
in Russia. Although at first, Russia denied any missile testing
during this period, it was later announced that there had been a test
launch of a Bulava-class missile (ICBM) from the White Sea via nuclear
submarine, and subsequent failure of the third stage at a very high
altitude - the apparent cause of the stunning "light show."
Despite the official explanation, and clear contrail visible in the
lower atmosphere of many of the photographs, speculation continued as
to the nature and origin of the spiral. The arguments focused on
the unexpected symmetry of colors and geometry, including the blue
helical spiral leading up to a huge vortex of white spiraling bands,
apparently lacking any chaotic behavior (that would normally be
associated with a missile out of control), all ending dramatically with
a high speed expansion of a black void. Clif High of HalfPastHuman.com, discussed on the
Jeff Rense radio program that the "light show" may have actually been a
planned visual demonstration of the actual destruction of the "aether"
by Russia's Sura Ionospheric Facility.  Similarly, David Wilcock
in his on-line ebook "Disclosure Endgame,"  also
implicates HAARP-like technology as the origin of the phenomenon from
the EISCAT facility near Tromsø. He argues against Kevin Martin's
analysis, a meteorologist from the Southern
California Weather Authority,  who puts the
phenomenon in the vicinity of the White Sea some 600 miles (965 km)
away from the Troms region, where most of the photos were taken.
"...... The first thing that jumps out here is that if the missile malfunctioned
over the White Sea as reported, it should have been visible in northern
Russia, Finland and Sweden as well as Norway -- yet the island of
Tromsø, .......... was where it was the most visible, and no sightings
were reported in Finland or Russia........"
It seems that Wilcock and many others have referenced the popular series of
photos by Jan-Petter Jørgensen as originating from the island of
Tromsø, which unfortunately had been cited at this incorrect location
in a news release. And since Tromsø is only 8 miles (13 km)
northwest of EISCAT, with the blue beam apparently pointing in that
direction, it was simply inevitable that EISCAT would eventually be
linked to this event. Wilcock again:
"...... The EISCAT facility is absolutely dead-center on Amini's line from Tromsø ......
At this point there can be no doubt. EISCAT definitely was responsible for the Norway Spiral. X marks the spot."
However, the Jørgensen photos were actually
taken from the island of Skjervoy, some 55 miles (88 km) northeast of
Tromsø and also northeast of EISCAT (thus EISCAT is behind the
photographer). This is not to say that unequivocally, EISCAT or
Russia's Ionospheric Facility
were not involved, just that the observed beam could not have
originated in a line-of-sight manner from either facility. In reference to the
fact that there were no photographs from Finland or Russia; it could be
argued that the back lighting of the spiral may have been illuminated
in such a manner only visible to these darker regions west of the
event, whereas further east there may have actually been too much
sunlight. In addition, it appears that the weather conditions
were not very favorable in the photographs from Sweden, thus weather
may have also been an issue in some locales. However, it does
remain a mystery as to why this event was not seen over a larger
geographic region, especially considering the enormous size and
altitude of the phenomenon.
In this present analysis, by correlating the numerous photographs1
with Google Earth's terrain mapping, it will be shown that the location, altitude,
trajectory, and size of the "spiral" can be estimated using Norway's
ideal rugged mountainous backgrounds as reference points. It can
be stated with certainty, that through this multiple vectoring of
mapped photographs, the phenomenon was located in the general vicinity
of the northwest entrance to the White Sea over the Kola Peninsula and
Russia's province of Murmansk, traveling to the northeast over the
waters of the Barents Sea, and at great altitude, but at no time
entering Finland or Norway. I would stress that the emphasis here
is only on the general location, movement, and geometrics of the event
and not as to the cause or nature of the phenomenon, which I
respectfully leave for others to debate and analyze.
2. Location Analysis
The methodology is very straightforward; photos of the spiral are
selected with distinct background topography (i.e. mountains, islands,
etc.) and visually mapped to the same view in the Google Earth terrain
mode. Vectors are then drawn towards the center of the spiral and
the origin (assumed sea level) then projected downrange a sufficient
length to cross with adjacent vectors at other mapped locations.
First it must be pointed out, that the phenomenon described by some as
stationary, was actually moving as identified in both video and still
shots. One of the best examples is from the well known series of
photographs taken by Jan-Petter Jørgensen from the vicinity of the
north breakwater at Skjervoy, showing the dramatic growth and
dissipation of the spiral (note photos #1 through #5 below all at same
Photos #1 - 5) © Jan-Petter Jørgensen at Skjervoy, all equally scaled by the background Kvanangstinder mountains showing both significant movement and growth
Image #6) Scaled superposition of the above first four photos showing the trajectory and dramatic growth.
In Image #6 above, the first four photos from Skjervoy have been scaled
and superimposed, showing the obvious growth and movement of the
spiral. This brings to question, is it coming closer, moving
away, or translating sideways relative to the observer? These are
questions we will attempt to answer in the following analysis.
Another example photographed near Lysnes, 28 miles (45 km) southwest of
Tromsø, also showing a similar progression of this event:
Photos #7, 8, & 9) Progressive void and spiral expansion near Lysnes (at same scale) © Vidar Bjørkli.
Image #9a) Superposition of above 3 photos.
Because the phenomenon
was in motion, in order to pinpoint the location with some accuracy,
the photo analysis should consider the stage at which the spiral has
progressed. If different stages of the spiral evolution can
additionally be vectored, an approximate trajectory may be
obtained. Most of the photos used in this analysis were taken
near the beginning stage of the spiral development, similar to the
photograph taken from Skjervoy in Photo #1. Initially five
locations were identified in an attempt to "triangulate" an initial
position to the center of the spiral, the tail end of the blue beam,
and the origin assumed at sea level. There were four locations
chosen in Norway, including Skjervoy, Storsteinnes, Highway E6 near
Markenes, and Harstad, and one in Sweden; Road BD-870 near Puoltsa as
shown in the map below with corresponding photos.
Figure #10) Location map showing initial 5 locations with good photographic representation.
Photo #11) © Jan-Petter Jørgensen behind Skjervoy north breakwater.
Photo #12) © Knut Anders Karlsen near Markenes (Hwy E6).
Photo #13) © Stian Michalski at Storsteinnes.
Photo #14) © Lars Sivertsen at Harstad (spiral already dissipating).
Photo #15) © Patrik Öhman near Puoltsa, Sweden on Road BD-870.
Note the almost identical
shape of the spiral for both the northernmost and southernmost
locations (Skjervoy and Puoltsa), suggesting that this event was a very
long distance away. Unfortunately this southern location in
Sweden, along Road BD-870 near Puoltsa, could not be accurately located
in Google Earth without any discernible landmarks, and thus was omitted
from the analysis. Although vector lines to the spiral could
easily be matched to the road, this in effect would have been
force-fitting the data to the desired results. This photo however
distinctly shows the lower missile contrail back lit by the sun, which
is blocked by mountains at most of the other locations. A closer
view of the contrail is shown below, seemingly marking the upper limits
of the atmosphere.
Photo #16) © Tommy Guttormsen showing contrail viewed from the Vardfjellet Mountains, Norway.
2.2 Convergence Analysis
The image overlays with vectors or "ley lines" are shown below for the selected
locations in Norway. For brevity only the views aligned with the
spiral and blue beam are shown, although additional views were also
verified for the vector lines leading to the origin at sea level.
Note that the photograph frames are raised slightly above the Google
Earth terrain so that the image silhouettes are verified as
matching. The next four image frames align to the center of the
Image #17) Photo © Jan-Petter Jørgensen overlayed with Google terrain at Skjervoy north breakwater using green vectors.
Image #18) Photo © Knut Anders Karlsen overlayed with Google terrain near Markenes (Hwy E6) with white vectors.
Image #19) Photo © Stian Michalski overlayed with Google terrain at Storsteinnes with red vectors.
Note in the next overlay
at Harstad, chosen for the excellent correlation with background
terrain, the spiral had dissipated at the time of the photograph. Thus
the progression of the spiral through time, as noted at the Skjervoy
location was added and scaled as additional layers, effectively
backtracking where the center of the earlier spiral would have most
likely occurred (point labeled B).
Essentially, photos from Skjervoy were superimposed with the Harstad
location and scaled by the blue beams in photo #4 (Skjervoy) and #14
(Harstad). The remaining photos from Skjervoy were easily scaled
by the background mountains as was shown previously in Image #6.
This now gives us points A
through E that define the
progression and trajectory of the spiral, where A is the origin of blue beam, B is the
initial location of spiral formation (photo #1), C is the approximate location of
the beginning of dissipation (photo #3), D locates increasing dissipation
from Harstad (photo #14), and E,
the largest measurable dissipation from Skjervoy (photo #4). Note
that although we can scale and superimpose these photos relative to
each other in this manner, at this point we still have no idea as to
the actual size of the phenomenon.
Image #20) Photos © Lars Sivertsen and © Jan-Petter Jørgensen overlayed with Google
terrain at Harstad with blue vector. Note blue circle at C is initial void at Skjervoy
(photo #3), red circle at D
corresponds to void for this photo (#14), and blue circle at E is final void at Skjervoy (photo #4).
Due to the poor photo
quality at many of the sites, the tail end of the blue beam (pointing
towards the Earth) could only be accurately located at the Skjervoy and
Harstad locations as follows:
Image #21 & 22) Alignment to tail end of "blue beam" in Google terrain.
Photos © Jan-Petter Jørgensen at Skjervoy and © Lars Sivertsen at Harstad.
2.3 Initial Locations Results
The results of
the convergence from the vector projection at both the center and
origin of the spiral, based on the above superposition of photographs
over Google Earth's terrain model, is presented in plan view below in
Figure #23. Due to the complexity of all the intersecting lines,
the location analysis of the blue beam is omitted from this
presentation for clarity, but is shown in the next section with the
error analysis. Using Skjervoy as our reference point, the
resulting intersections (denoted by the orange dots) locate the center
of the spiral ranging from about 481 to 508 miles (774-818 km)
downrange, and the origin about 446 to 532 miles (718-856 km)
downrange. Russia's Coastal Warning for the Southern White Sea
Rocket (missile) Launch Area  is also shown and
overlaps with the projected location of the origin.
Figure #23) Results of convergence analysis showing probable locations of the
origin and center of spiral during its early stage (click to enlarge).
2.4 Error Estimation
Error is of course apparent as displayed in the range of scatter, and
this is primarily due to the subjective nature of superimposing the
photos onto Google Earth's terrain map (human error). The error
is also likely variable dependent on the location where the vectors
were sighted and projected. For example, the Skjervoy location is
believed to have a low error on the vector alignment, as the
photographer's position is well known behind the north breakwater, with
the distinctive peaks in the background mountains providing a very
accurate projection. Similarly, at Harstad, the expanse of
mountains coupled with small foreground islands provided a very high
confidence in the alignment. At other location such as Markenes
and Storsteinnes, the photographer's exact location is not known, and
thus must be approximated by moving the observation point (beginning of
the vector line) in a trail and error method, to match the background
image in Google Earth's terrain map.
Error is especially
evident in the vectoring at the above mentioned sites at Markenes and
Storsteinnes, as these lines are divergent and never cross. If we
neglect the location at Storsteinnes, we effectively eliminate the
outermost points (upper and lower bounds) at both the origin and spiral
locations with a much tighter grouping, perhaps representing a more
accurate result as shown below in Figure #24. Allowing a generous
error range of 5 degrees total (± 2.5 degrees on either side of the
line) results in about ± 20 miles (32 km) on either side of the line at
approximately 500 miles (805 km) downrange and ± 50 miles (80 km) along
the line giving an elliptical error boundary of 40 by 100 miles (64 by
160 km). Thus expressed as
a percentage this downrange convergence error is approximately ± 10%.
With only five
vector crossings per location representing a small sample, eliminating
two may not be considered statistically advisable. Yet in this
case it appears to have little effect on the average center locations
at both the origin and the spiral. In addition, the location of
the tail end of the blue beam is also shown, and assumed to have
approximately the same error envelope although only two sites were
involved (one intersection).
Figure #24) Revised convergence analysis with blue beam location and reported "missile launch corridor."
Based on the above, the
distances from Skjervoy, including the aforementioned error bounds,
ranges from 447 to 547 miles (719-879 km) to the spiral, 428 to 528
miles (689-849 km) to the origin, and 476 to 576 miles (766-926 km) to
the observed tail end of the blue beam. Averaging to the center
of the error ranges we get approximately 497, 478, and 526 miles (800,
769, and 847 km), respectively, to the spiral, origin, and blue beam.
2.5 Evolution of Spiral Dissipation
From the many photographs
it often appears as if the spiral was traveling away from our viewpoint
(Norway) with the blue beam in front of (west of) the spiral. Yet
from this analysis, the blue beam has been most likely located behind
the initial spiral location (east of), yet considering the error bounds
may in fact range from in front, to behind, or perhaps in the same
plane as the spiral. The possibility of the beam being behind the
spiral had previously been suggested in some forum discussions, with
the observed helical nature of the beam being a product of refraction
or modulation through the spiral bands as viewed from the west.
To further expound on this question, we will attempt to triangulate the
position of the spiral over the progression at dissipation (or
expansion of the center "void") and the path of movement.
Using the superimposed photographs
that were established previously at the Harstad location (Image #20),
defining the spiral sequence through points A through E,
we now align vectors from both the Skjervoy and Harstad locations for
point C, D, and E, representing the final progression
of dissipation. For completeness these photos at
dissipation are shown again below (not to scale):
Photos #25. 26 & 27) Sequence of dissipation at Skjervoy (C), Harstad (D),
and Skjervoy again (E). © Jan-Petter Jørgensen at Skjervoy and © Lars Sivertsen at Harstad.
The same basic procedure presented in the Methodology (Section 2.1) is
again repeated for the Skjervoy and Harstad locations for this sequence
of points representing the evolution of the dissipation. The
Skjervoy and Harstad locations may best represent the median of the
results, as their lines cross near the center of the data points in
both the origin and spiral locations, and these locations are by far
the most accurate to overlay with the Google terrain mapping, due to
their distinctive and numerous background features previously
discussed. Below are the overlayed photos in Google Earth for
each location at C, D, and E (not to scale):
Image #28 & 29) Alignment with first dissipation point C. © Jan-Petter
Jørgensen at Skjervoy and © Lars Sivertsen at Harstad.
Image #30 & 31) Alignment with second dissipation point D. © Jan-Petter
Jørgensen at Skjervoy and © Lars Sivertsen at Harstad.
Image #32 & 33) Alignment with final dissipation point E. © Jan-Petter
Jørgensen at Skjervoy and © Lars Sivertsen at Harstad.
The two projected vectors
at each location C, D, and E, are extended downrange to a crossing location and
superimposed with the previous results from Figure #24 and presented below in Figure #34.
Figure #34) Movement of spiral tracking towards northeast showing path of
dissipation (spiral sizes calculated in following sections).
For consistency, only the
locations at Skjervoy and Harstad are shown at all crossings, but still
adopting the same error range as before, namely an approximate
elliptical error boundary of 40 by 100 miles (64 by 160 km). From
this analysis, the movement of the spiral from its starting point (B) to the final dissipation point (E)
is estimated at 138 miles (222 km) to the northeast in the 2-dimensional x-y plane (variations in altitude, z,
will be considered in the next section). Combined with the initial spiral
location, these four points form an approximate path towards the
northeast, taking the spiral across the Kola Peninsula then out over
the Barents Sea some some 70 miles (113 km) offshore.
3. Trajectory, Size, and Altitude
From the preceding
section, the distances of the spiral from Skjervoy were determined in
the x-y plane, yet to estimate
altitudes and sizes, we will need a reference dimension from one of the
photographs to establish known angles to the center of each spiral
location. Luckily, such a reference dimension is easily obtained
from the background mountains at the Skjervoy location following the
same basic methodology as shown in Kevin Martin's video. 
Measuring the distance from the observer at Skjervoy across the open waters to the
Kvanangstinder mountains, and the height of a selected peak, we can
then establish an angle to the top of that peak. Using this angle
scaled by the photograph, it is thus straightforward to infer the
angles by direct line-of-sight to the center of the spiral through its
entire evolution as depicted below in Figure #35, referencing the same
established points A through E.
Figure #35) Geometry describing the relative line-of-sight angles from observer at
Skjervoy based on an over water distance to, and height of mountain.
The most northwest ridge
or peak was selected from the Kvanangstinder mountains (also known as
the saw back mountains) with the elevation and distance obtained in
Google Earth of 2,538 ft (719 m) and 45,186 ft (13.77 km),
respectively. This set the reference angle to the mountain of
2.97° assuming the observer (photographer) was approximately 6 ft above
the water upland, and about 6 ft tall for a total elevation of 12 ft
(3.7 m). Note Kevin Martin used one of the larger peaks to the
southeast in his analysis with a corresponding reference angle of 4°.
With the resulting angle, (ө) and distance, (l ) to the initial and dissipated
spiral locations now established, the above geometric relationships are
first solved for the hypotenuse, which defines the line-of-sight
distance, h = l / cos(ө), and
then for the elevation, z = h sin(ө). These results are
presented in Table #1 below, with the elevation from a flat horizontal
2D surface projected tangent from the observer and computed for each
location A through E.
Table #1: Geometric scaling of spiral progression.
1. Measured from projected horizontal 2D plane (Earth's curvature not accounted for).
2. As seen from Skjervoy.
3. As seen from Harstad.
Knowing the elevation, z, at each spiral location,
taken from this projected tangential surface, this value can then be
used to scale the different photos to obtain an estimate on the spiral
and void diameters. An example of this simple procedure for the
initial spiral location, B,
is shown below in Image #36:
Image #36) Example of procedure for scaling of initial spiral.
To estimate a general error range we can consider the initial spiral
which is approximately 500 miles away with a ± 50 miles established in
Section 2.4. This gives a minimum and maximum range from
approximately 450 to 550 miles and corresponding elevation of about 70
to 85 miles, or ± 7.5 miles deviation. Thus based on this, the
error for elevation and size measurements is conservatively estimated
at approximately ± 10 miles (± 16 km).
We now account for the effects of the Earth's curvature, which becomes
very significant over these large distances of sight. Projecting
the line-of-site values downrange over an imaginary flat 2D surface, as
was described above, the altitudes are taken perpendicular to the
Earth's surface resulting in values A
through E of 79, 107, 146, 160, and 166 miles
(127, 172, 235, 257, and 267 km). Note that
the typical orbit for the Space Shuttle is generally in the range of
186 to 242 miles (300 to 390 km) and the International Space Station at
220 miles (355 km), with the majority of the
dissipating spiral and void clearly into or beyond these orbital
results in Figure #37 combined with the 2D path in Figure #34, thus
defines the approximate 3D trajectory of the center of the spiral.
Figure #37) Elevation view showing adjustment for curvature of the Earth with
line-of-site values (h) and progression and sizes of spiral.
3.3 Estimation of Size
From the work of the previous sections, we now have obtained all the necessary data
to scale the important features of the photographs to get an idea of
the evolution of the size of the phenomenon ranging from the initial
spiral formation to the final dissipation.
We can now piece together this information with the popular series of photos
from Skjervoy, and the Harstad photo as shown below in Images #38, #39,
and #40 with the superposition of both the initial and dissipating
spirals extended from the tail end of the blue beam. These series
of photos completes the spiral evolution and dissipation from points B through E.
The initial spiral was scaled at approximately 95 miles (153 km) in width at point B,
expanding to 190 miles (306 km)
at the beginning of dissipation at point C, and 391 miles (629 km) near the
end of dissipation at point D.
Even though we have one additional photo at point E, the spiral has significantly
dispersed with the fringes outside of the picture frame (photo #40) and
thus undetermined but likely immeasurable in any case.
Similarly, the progression of the void occurs initially at 33 miles (53
km) across at point C, 106
miles (171 km) at point D,
and 170 miles (274 km) at point E.
It also appears in the photos that the void beyond this range disperses
quickly losing any definable shape (see photo #5). In terms of
elevation the initial spiral forms at approximately 107 miles (172 km)
above sea level and climbs to an elevation of about 166 miles (267 km)
as it moves northeasterly, dissipating over the Barents Sea.
It should be noted in Image #38, that the separate dimensions are
referenced and scaled accordingly to each of the sequential locations
B, C, and E
(which are moving away from the observer), and thus the image as a
whole does not have a single scale factor but actually three
corresponding to the three different vertical perpendicular planes
of B, C, and E. The dimension of
143 miles (230 km) between B
and E thus represents the
projection of the horizontal translation both to the left (north) and
into the picture (east).
Image #38) Size, and altitude results for the observed spiral
progression at Skjervoy (photos © Jan-Petter Jørgensen).
Note that center of closest spiral at point B is approximately 503
miles (810 km) away from photographer.
In the following photo from Harstad, the initial and ending void sizes
from Skjervoy have been superimposed, showing the growth or progression
of the void northerly while the southern edge remains nearly
stationary. This photo is almost identical to the one taken at
Lysnes (photo #8) and is believed to be close to the maximum size of
the spiral before dispersion. Although the spiral appears to be
touching the ground in this photo, the bottom edge is actually
calculated some 20 miles (32 km) or more above sea level once the
curvature of the Earth is accounted for.
Image #39) Overlay of large dissipated spiral taken from Harstad (red void)
scaled from spiral at Skjervoy (blue voids) with estimated dimensions.
Note that center at point D is approximately
562 miles (904 km) away from reference location at Skjervoy (photo ©
Image #40) Size, and altitude results for the final observed spiral dissipation at
Skjervoy (photo © Jan-Petter Jørgensen).
Note that center of void is approximately 565 miles (909 km) away from photographer.
4. Void Expansion and Translation Velocities
In section 3.2 and 3.3 we examined the progression of the void expansion
in terms of size and location in space, but with no reference to time. In
this section the objective is to estimate the velocity of the void expansion
and translation by correlating frame captures of video footage with the
previously scaled images. Shown below is the video that was chosen for this
analysis which was shot from Tromsø. This video has been uploaded to YouTube by multiple users
 (author is unknown), and exist in both the
original format at a 16:9 ratio and also a compressed version
(distorted) at 4:3 ratio. The location was identified by the
"Arctic Cathedral" located in the foreground (near the end of the
video) and the mountainous backgrounds that were also verified in
Google Earth (as in Section 2.2).
Although lacking the initial development of the spiral, it displays an excellent
progression of the void expansion and general trajectory both
horizontally to the north (left) and vertically (up).
Since Tromsø is only about 30 miles (48 km) further west from the spiral
event than Skjervoy, and the vectors from both locations to the spiral
diverge by only 3.6º, we can scale this video to the Skjervoy images
without any significant geometric errors. However, due to the low
quality of the video (in comparison to the photos), scaling of the
actual image overlays proved to be difficult, and thus the results
herein should be viewed only as approximate.
At 31.4 seconds into the video, the shape of the "blue beam" and size
of the void seem to closely match that of Photo #3 from Skjervoy, in
which the dimensions were previously scaled in Section 3.3 (Image
#38). This correlation is shown below in Image #41 which
approximately scales the video frame at this particular point in time
by denoting the same helical pattern in the lower part of the blue beam
and the center and diameter of the voids. In addition to the
obvious sideways and vertical translation, it is also moves away
from the observer (Section 3.2) thus affecting the sequential scaling
of frame captures.
Image #41) Scaled overlay of video capture and Skjervoy Photo #3.
To account for this change in scaling with time as the event tracks
away from the observer, it would be desirable to correlate the video to
established know locations in Section 3.2, with at least two locations
correlating a frame capture with a known image to establish a
trend. The above scaled frame/image occurring at t = 31.4 seconds can be used for
the first point, which also conveniently coincides with location C
from the Section 3.2 analysis. Unfortunately the video appears to
never reach the point in time correlating to location D. However, at the end of the
video (t = 50.6 sec), the void
is initially estimated at about 85 miles (137 km) in diameter, and this
is located roughly 72% along the trajectory between the void diameters at
location C and D.
Ignoring the horizontal and vertical translation motions for now (does not affect scaling), and
taking 72% of the downrange translation of the void from C to D obtained from Table #1, gives us 12.5
miles or 20 km (74% of 17.4 miles or 28.0 km).
The corrections are then applied in CAD as a linear trend showing only a
small change in void size and translation distances; resulting in scale
factors of 0.961 at t = 0.17 seconds
and 1.023 at t = 50.6
seconds, as referenced to the 1:1 scaled image at t =
31.38 seconds (Image #41). These scale factors are small because
the downrange movements are very small compared to the vast downrange
distance to the observer, which is in excess of 530 miles (853
The resulting scale-corrected sequential frame
captures, with the estimated void radius, horizontal and vertical
translations, are shown in Images #42 through #53. Note that
these dimensions are simply referenced to discernible foreground
features in the video and do not relate to any particular datum.
Images #42 - 53) Video frame captures with translations and void radius scaled for
4.2 Velocity Estimates
There are three aspects to the movement of this event in which we can attempt
to estimate the velocities:
i) the 3D trajectory of the center of the spiral / void climbing to the north-northeast,
ii) the expansion of the void out from the void center,
iii) the combination of the above velocities which would define the outermost expansion of the northerly edge of the void.
For reference we define the coordinate system where the x-axis points east (into the page),
y-axis points north (to the left), and z-axis points up; with the corresponding velocity
components, Vx, Vy, and Vz as shown in Figure #54.
The resultant velocity vector along the trajectory is thus:
Figure #54) Defined coordinate system for velocity vectors representing the spiral trajectory.
For the void expansion, the velocity is defined as Ve, relative to the center of the
void and based on the rate of expansion of the void radius, r.
Although the exact plane of the void is uncertain, it has no
discernible obliqueness in any of the photos or videos and is assumed
to be in a plane approximately perpendicular to the observer. In
the scaled Images #42 - 53, the observable translation only represents
the velocities in
the horizontal (y) and
vertical (z) directions and
thus we have no accurate track of the easterly (x)
Yet this velocity, Vx (into
the page) can be inferred from the estimated
scaling that was done previously in Section 4.1, namely a 12.5 mile (20 km) difference between
Image #50 and #53 (where dt
= 50.62 - 31.38 = 19.24 sec.). Accordingly, the downrange
velocity is approximated as 12.5 mi / 19.24 s = 0.649 mi/s = 2,240 mph (3,690 kph).
From the 12 video captures above, both the horizontal (y)
and vertical (z) translations of the center of the
spiral is plotted together in Figure #55 and the expansion of the void
radius, r, in Figure
#56. Fitting curves to these results we find that the y translation closely follows a 2nd
order regression while the z
translation is roughly linear. The expansion of the void also
follows a linear trend for about the first 20 seconds then appears to
decrease past this point when the void radius is about 40 to 45 miles
(64 to 72 km).
Figure #55) Horizontal, y (north) and
vertical, z, translations
obtained from video frame captures.
Figure #56) Expansion of void radius, r, obtained from video frame captures.
With Vx already estimated
above, the remaining velocities are obtained from the regression
equations by simply taking the derivatives:
A summary of the measured data, computed velocity components, and
vector additions is shown in Table #2.
The most significant movement of the spiral is to the north
(translating sideways) represented by the velocity component Vy,
with a maximum of approximately 7,500 mph (12,070 kph) at the beginning
of the video and decreasing to 4,200 mph (6,760 kph) near the
end. The easterly component Vx was
assumed linear and coincidentally matches the vertical velocity Vz almost exactly at 2,240 mph
(3,600 kph) with its resulting linear motion.
The maximum resultant velocity, V,
of the spiral (from the vector sum of Vx,
Vy, and Vz) occurs at the beginning of the
video with the trajectory to the
north-northeast at about 8,150 mph (13,110 kph) and decreasing to
approximately 5,300 mph (8,530 kph) at the end (t = 50.6 sec) where the void
diameter is about 94 miles (151 km). The void expansion,
represented by the velocity, Ve,
appears to spread out at a linear rate at approximately 6,600 mph
(10,620 kph) relative to the center for the initial 20 seconds,
thereafter decreasing to around 4,500 mph (7,240 kph) near the end of
the video (and likely continuing to decrease with further expansion).
The velocity of the leading edge of the void expansion (north side) as
it is projected out from the center of the moving spiral, can simply be
expressed as the sum of the two velocity vectors, V and Ve,
resulting in a maximum velocity of the leading edge at approximately
13,350 mph (21,500 kph) at the start of the void expansion and
decreasing to about 9,750 mph (1,570 kph) at t = 50.6 seconds.
Table #2: Summary of measured distances from video frames and the resulting velocity
components and vectors.
1. Measured distances from video frame capture - Images #42 through #53.
2. East velocity roughly estimated based on downrange distance
differential and is assumed linear.
4.3 Verification and Error Estimation
Based on the large and somewhat unbelievable magnitude of the velocities of
the spiral trajectory and void, these values are accordingly examined
for possible scaling and methodology errors.
The largest assumption in this analysis and perhaps the most prone to
error was the assumed downrange velocity Vx (Section
4.2), since this can not be measured from the video frames directly,
due to the vector direction into the page. In the worst case, if
we completely ignore this velocity (Vx
= 0), the resultant trajectory vector, V, would decrease to 7,840 mph
(12,620 kph) which is only a 4% difference in the actual computed value
of 8,154 mph (12,620
kph). Of course we know that Vx
is not zero, but even if it was as much as 50% larger or 50% smaller this would be an
error of only ± 2%.
Another source of error is in the initial scaling of the video frame
captures, based on this same downrange motion. This scaling
correction, obtained from two points in the spiral progression,
location C and another point
at t = 50.6 seconds, where the void diameter was initially estimated at about 85 miles (137 km).
Based on this size progression which was about 72% of the difference
from location C to D
(void diameters), a downrange distance of 12.5 miles (20 km) was
obtained. After the frames were actually scaled however, the void
diameter at t = 50.6 seconds
became 93.6 miles (150 km), or 83% of the difference from
location C to D
giving a 14.4 mile (23 km) downrange distance. Although the
difference between 12.5 and 14.4 miles is large, this must be added to
the total downrange distance (+560 miles referenced at location C from Tromsø)
to see the actual scaling affect. For example, at the last frame
where t = 50.6 seconds, the initial scale factor was 1.023 (Section
4.1) and the revised based on the 14.4 mile differential is 1.027, a
difference of only 0.004 or 0.4%. This small scaling error can
thus be considered negligible.
As an additional check, the spiral at locations at B and C (Skjervoy Photo #1 and #3) are
superimposed and scaled with the video frame at t = 31.4 seconds which is
approximately at location C
(Image #50), so we can now compare
the track from B to C
that was previously plotted in Figure #34. In this
superposition shown below in Image #57, the distance difference between
location B and C is simply 141 - 58 miles = 83
miles (134 km).
Figure #57) Superposition of locations B
and C from video and Skjervoy Photos #1 and #3.
Taking the downrange differential of 32.8 miles (52.8 km) from Table
#1, the resultant horizontal distance is solved for d = (832
+ 32.82) ½ such that d = 89.2 miles (143.5 km).
From Figure #34 the corresponding horizontal track from B to C is measured at 83.2 miles (133.9
km). Thus the error in the horizontal translation distance is
approximately 7% in this case. As
noted earlier in Section 4.1, because of the low quality of the video
we fully expected the scaling efforts to be difficult, and the error
observed here in the x-y
horizontal translation may be indicative of this uncertainty.
Looking at the regression curves generated from the video frame data
(Figures #55 and #56), we see good R2 values ranging from
0.993 to 0.999, and the relative standard error (RSE) of 2.1%, 1.4%,
and 2.0% for the y, z, and r regression equations,
Thus based on the above error analysis and verification, it appears
that the error associated with video frame scaling and the subsequent
regression analysis are relatively small in the range of ±
2%. However, from Figure #57, correlation to the earlier
convergence analysis with the video frame captures, we see that this 7%
error is in the same ballpark as the ±
10% established for the downrange convergence in Section 2.4.
Since the video scaling is based on this original vector convergence
analysis, a conservative error range of ± 10% is also established
for the velocity analysis.
5. Summary & Discussion
From this convergence analysis and the subsequent determination of the approximate size,
location, trajectory, and associated velocities of this unusual phenomenon, the
following is noted:
Contrary to some assertions that have placed this event over Norway or Finland,
the vector analysis establishes the initial spiral over the
Russian province of Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula with the origin
(contrail) located in the vicinity of the western White Sea, and within
the coastal warning for the Southern White Sea Rocket Launch Area (or
simply "missile launch corridor")  within the considered
With respect to altitude, the apparent origin or tail end of the blue beam
was located inland approximately near the northeast tip of missile
launch corridor at an elevation of 79 miles (127 km). The initial
formation of the spiral was approximately 62 miles (100 km) north of
the blue beam origin and 60 miles (97 km) inland, or west of the White
Sea, with altitude and diameter of 107 and 95 miles (172 and 153 km),
respectively. With the Kármán line defining the approximate
boundary between the upper atmosphere and outer space at 62 miles up
(100 km), this puts the center of the spiral well into outer space with
the lower edge of the spiral at about 60 miles (96 km) or approximately
at the Kármán interface. This is therefore
an event that transpired primarily in space, and thus not significantly
confined or influenced by atmospheric conditions.
The path of the spiral was to the northeast and climbing in altitude, traveling
across the peninsula and out over the Barents Sea. The final
dissipation of the spiral occurred approximately 143 miles (230 km)
northeast of its initial development and some 70 miles (113 km)
offshore and 166 miles up (267 km) (from sea level). From an
observer at Skjervoy,
this movement of the spiral was primarily translating sideways (right
to left), upwards, and downrange as it moved northeasterly over the
However, the dramatic growth of the spiral gives the impression that it
is moving closer to the observer.
At the point of relatively rapid growth of the "void" and spiral, the
upper limit of expansion scaled from photographs places the maximum
photographed width of the spiral envelope at approximately 391 miles
(629 km), with the upper edge of this envelope at a very high altitude
of about 351 miles (565 km), well within the orbital range of space
craft such as the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.
To gain a perspective on size, a medium size tropical cyclone is in the
range of approximately 200 to 400 miles (322 to 644 km) across, so in a
sense this spiral can be likened to a hurricane projected vertically on
From the video analysis, the movement of the center of the
spiral towards the north-northeast trajectory is estimated with an
initial velocity (at the beginning of the video) exceeding 8,000
mph (12,875 kph) and gradually decreasing towards the end of the video
(near location D) to about
5,300 mph (8,530 kph). The vertical component of this translation
is approximately linear with an average velocity of 2,240 mph (3.600 kph). The expansion of
the void out from the center of the moving
spiral is also nearly linear with an average velocity of 6,600 mph
(10,620 kph) for about the first 20 seconds of the expansion, then
gradually decreasing from this point on. The velocity of the
leading edge of the void (north side) from the combination of the
expansion and trajectory velocity is approximately 13,350 mph (21,500 kph) near the beginning of
the void expansion. Although the magnitude of
these speeds seems somewhat incredible, they are consistent
with the measured geometrics and movement, and the fact that the event
was generally well above the atmosphere and not constrained by the
propagation through a medium. The substantial distance at which
this event was observed (+500 miles) combined with the equally massive size
of the spiral envelope, also gives the illusion of a more slowly moving
This analysis shows the initial spiral most likely forming in front of (west
of) the blue beam, but when considering the computed error ranges it
may have been behind
or in the same plane as the blue beam. It had been suggested in
some forum discussions that the helical nature of the blue beam was due
to the light being refracted through the spiral bands. Although
in some photographs this theory seems plausible, other photographs seem
to show this helical pattern still faintly present after dissipation,
leaving this unconfirmed at this point. If the blue beam is
positioned in the same plane as the spiral, the helical feature may be
a result of the modulation or shearing action from the rotating spiral
All the available photographs and videos are shot from very distant locations
and mainly from the northwestern regions of Norway, suggesting perhaps
some manner of illumination only visible to these western
observers. It may be possible that there was too much light
present in the atmosphere from the easterly regions (Finland, Russia)
such that the phenomenon was overpowered by the sun in these areas with
an earlier sunrise.
Due to the subjective nature of the vector mapping, a generous error range was
implemented producing an error envelope represented by an ellipse some
40 by 100 miles (64 by 160 km) at the crossing of multiple vectors, and
a corresponding elevation/size error range of ± 10 miles (± 16
km). This equates roughly to a ± 10% error in the
downrange convergence and ± 7% in elevation.
Similarly, a ±
10% error range was adopted for the velocity estimates based on the
above convergence error, although the velocity data regression and
scaling errors were generally below ± 2%. While these error estimates may be considered large, this range
does not negate the general conclusions of this analysis, although
these values may indeed vary from the results
This phenomenon observed in the northwest regions of Norway has generated
much debate as to its nature, origin, and purpose, and with many potential
implications if the official missile report is dismissed.
Although it was not the intent of this paper to address such a scope of
all possible theories, I am hopeful that this small but focused study
at the very least, may dispel some of the disinformation and confusion
as to the location, movement, and geometrics of this visually stunning
1. All photographs have been accredited to the photographer and location when
known and are presented only for research purposes and in the spirit of
the dissemination of open information and knowledge. No profit or
funds are involved in their use. If you are an author of any of
these photos and would like to have any corrections made or have them
removed, please contact:
3. Rense.com, Webbot Clif High talks about Norway Spiral on Jeff Rense Show, Dec. 10, 2009,
5. Kevin Martin, Southern California Weather Authority, Norway Spiral
debunked with math evidence - White Sea was the location in Russia, Dec. 14, 2009,
6. Forum River Traveler, NAVTEX Russian missile launch area coordinates (in Russian) Dec. 2009,
031230 UTC DEC 09
COASTAL WARNING ARKHANGELSK 94
SOUTHERN PART WHITE SEA
1.ROCKET LAUNCHING 2300 07 DEC TO 0600 08 DEC
09 DC 0200 TO 0900 10 DEC 0100 TO 0900
NAVIGATION PROHIBITED IN AREA
65-12.6N 036-37.0E 65-37.2N 036-26.0E
66-12.3N 037-19.0E 66-04.0N 037-47.0E
66-03.0N 038-38.0E 66-06.5N 038-55.0E
65-11.0N 037-28.0E 65-12.1N 036-49.5E
THEN COASTAL LINE 65-12.2N 036-47.6E
News and Photo Links:
12/29/2009: Initial draft posting.
01/03/2010: Initial finalized posting.
01/09/2010: Added location map.
01/12/2010: Temporarily pulled page down to incorporate new photos and information.
01/14/2010: Revised with two new photos from Skjervoy; additional vectoring and updating; resulting new trajectory over Barents Sea.
02/13/2010: Minor text revisions; revised Image #6; revised error ranges; replaced one expired reference link; added additional links.
07/21/2011: Added video analysis section on translation and void
expansion velocities; minor revisions to dimensions; added additional reference/links.
© 2009-2011 SpellConsulting.com
= = = = =