Magnificent lights over Sweden likely caused by rocket fuel: Tour operator

The owner of a tour company in Sweden's Lapland region says amateur space enthusiasts told him the recent unusually spectacular Northern Lights may have been caused by fuel dumped by the Atlas V rocket that had blasted off from California.

KIRUNA (Reuters) - Tour guide operator Chad Blakley says what was originally thought to be a UFO over Abisko National Park was likely a fuel trail from a rocket launched from California.

He said the anomaly was likely due to an Atlas V rocket that had blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in the United States several hours earlier, carrying the Worldview 4 satellite to orbit. He made the remarks after investigating the issue and with the help of amateur space weather enthusiasts. 

"We started getting reports from people reading this website that they believe it was a cloud from the rocket fuel that had been dumped from an Atlas V rocket," said Mr Blakley,  founder of Sweden's Lights Over Lapland, which caters to tourists who travel to the Arctic to photograph and film the Northern Lights auroras.

"I have to admit you are standing out in a frozen area in the Arctic, you're looking up in the sky you see what appears to be something you can't explain, it does have a tendency to take your mind to very interesting places," Mr Blakley said.