The US space agency's AZURE programme launched two rockets on Friday (Saturday NZT) from the Andøya Space Center which released tracer materials created to glow in the atmosphere.
After two orange dots launched through the air, expanding glowing clouds and colourful lights appeared suddenly - but it was not an alien attack, as some outlets have been suggesting.
This experiment was part of NASA's Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment (AZURE) mission, which is part of an worldwide collaboration to study the processes occurring inside a region of our atmosphere called the polar cusp.
The AZURE mission is created to make measurements of the atmospheric density and temperature with instruments on the rockets and deploying visible gas tracers, trimethyl aluminum (TMA) and a barium/strontium mixture, which ionizes when exposed to sunlight. The tracers ionize when they are exposed to sunlight allowing researchers to "track the flow of neutral and charged particles".
"By tracking the movement of these colorful clouds via ground-based photography and triangulating their moment-by-moment position in 3D, AZURE will provide valuable data on the vertical and horizontal flow of particles in two key regions of the ionosphere over a range of different altitudes", the scientists said. Glowing Lights In The Sky The mission posed no harm to the residents of northern Norway, but the launches caused a bit of a panic among people who were not expecting to witness the artificial light show this weekend.
Auroras are a visible product of collisions as charged particles from space smash into Earth's.
"A short while later odd lights and colourful, expanding clouds appeared I first did not have an explanation for".
The blue lights triggered rumours about aliens, UFOs, with some even claiming that the pictures are fake- having been "edited" or 'photoshopped'.
One look at the images of the test, which was performed to help scientists better understand the mechanics of the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere, and it's easy to see why some eyewitnesses described the sighting as looking "like an alien attack".
The AZURE mission successfully launched back-to-back aboard two sounding rockets in Norway tonight.