According to witnesses, the glowing ball rose from behind trees and resembled “a portal to another dimension“
A giant UFO resembling an enormous glowing ball lit up the night sky, sparking fears of an alien invasion or the end of days.
The huge mass of light illuminated the sky in northern Siberia, Russia, last night.
Within minutes, witnesses were speaking of “aliens arriving” and the “end of the world”.
The extraordinary scenes were captured by photographer Sergey Anisimov in the town of Salekhard, which straddles the Arctic Circle.
He said: “I was taken aback for a few minutes, not understanding what was happening.
“The glowing ball rose from behind the trees and moved in my direction.
“My first thought was about the most powerful searchlight, but the speed of changing everything around changed the idea of what was happening.
“The ball began to turn into an arc and gradually dissipated.”
He later returned home to find local children talking about the multi-coloured light show, citing “aliens” and a “portal to another dimension”.
Some witnesses feared the world was ending ( Image: The Siberian Times)
Some 520 miles further east, another photographer, Alexey Yakovlev, admitted feeling scared as he witnessed the UFO in Strezhevoi, in the north of Tomsk region, reported The Siberian Times .
“At first I thought, it was such a radiance of such an unusual form, round in shape.
“But gradually the ball began to expand, it became clear that this is not some radiance – and it became scary.
Witnesses reported seeing the ball change colour ( Image: The Siberian Times)
“It’s good that I was not alone – a group of people cannot hallucinate.”
On social media, witness Vasily Zubkov said: “I went out to smoke a cigarette and thought it was the end of the world.”
Anastasia Boldyreva added: “Aliens arrived.”
“It’s a gap in the space-time continuum,” claimed Nurgazy Taabaldiev.
The Russian defence ministry confirmed there was an unusual object flying at high speed over northern Siberia.
But experts have suggested there were two reasons for the eerie spectacle in the Siberian night sky.
The first was that a vivid display of the Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, was under way.
This would explain why photographers were out watching the sky when the UFO appeared.
The second theory is that Russian President Vladimir Putin was attempting to frighten the West with grandiose military exercises by his strategic nuclear forces.
Others thought Putin was responsible for the display ( Image: The Siberian Times)
Missiles tests were under way from submarines and aircraft last night, and the exercises included the launch of a super-powerful Topol rocket from Plesetsk cosmodrome, 550 miles north of Moscow.
From a mobile launcher, it was successfully aimed at the Kura testing range in Kamchatka on the country’s Pacific coast.
It was the the trace of this rocket – capable of carrying nuclear missiles – that caused this extraordinary phenomenon in the night sky, say the Russian media.
Photographer Yakovlev accurately speculated: “It seems I accidentally shot the launch of a secret space rocket from Plesetsk.”
The launch was then confirmed by the defence ministry in Moscow. Other missiles were launched from a submarine and aircraft.