Feb 15, 2019 I Paul Seaburn

Russian Satellite Spots Mysterious Explosions in Earth’s Atmosphere

It’s unusual when the U.S. government reveals information about unusual occurrences or events in space … especially without the intervention of a rock star. It’s even more unusual for the Russian government to do it. Yet that’s what’s happening in Moscow where a leading scientist revealed that a Russian satellite has picked up strange explosions of light that researchers are unable to explain. Инопланетяне? (Russian for “Aliens?” – at least that’s what Google Translate claims.)

"With the help of the telescope, we have obtained even more important results than we expected. It looks like we have encountered new physical phenomena… We do not yet know their physical nature… For example, during Lomonosov's flight at an altitude of several dozen kilometres, we have registered several times a very powerful 'explosion' of light. But everything was clear underneath it, no storms, no clouds."

“We do not yet know their physical nature.” That’s not the kind of thing Russians are accustomed to hearing from officials, but that’s exactly what Mikhail Panasyuk, the director of the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics at the Russian State University, told Sputnik News this week. An ultraviolet telescope installed on the Russian satellite Lomonosov -- launched in 2016 and named for Mikhail Lomonosov, the Russian mathematical genius and scientist whose discoveries include the atmosphere of Venus and the law of conservation of mass in chemical reaction – picked up light “explosions” in the upper atmosphere where Lomonosov was supposed to be observing gamma-ray bursts, high-energy cosmic rays and transient (short-duration) atmospheric phenomena.

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Technically, “transient phenomena” describes the mysterious lights observed by the Lomonosov satellite, but Panasyuk and other scientists are concerned because they can’t identify them beyond “light explosions.” Sprites are similar light flashes that appear above thunderstorms, but there were no storm clouds under these lights and so little is known about sprites that it’s not even a certainly that they can be picked up by a UV telescope. The researchers have eliminated ground explosions and missile or rocket launches. It’s possible that the explosions could be the result of secret weapons testing, but good luck getting the Russian government to admit to that. By process of elimination, that leaves … Инопланетяне!

Before you toss out the possibility of “Aliens!”, there’s one more strange occurrence to report:

“On June 30, 2018, the Head of Nuclear Physics Institute of Moscow State University, NIIYaF MGU, Mikhail Panasyuk, confirmed the report by the RIA Novosti news agency that Mikhailo Lomonosov, one of only two dedicated scientific satellites operated by Russia, had suffered a failure of its data transmission system.”

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Any ideas?

These light explosions occurred some time before June 30, 2018, when Russian space watchers the satellite suffered a malfunction and has been shut down ever since. So, the news of the event has been hidden for almost a year, the Lomonosov mysteriously malfunctioned and was shut down, and suddenly the same head scientist has decided to talk about it with the media. Is he worried? Are the Russians? Should we be?

All together now … Инопланетяне!

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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