strange light edmonton

Mysterious light appeared in the sky in Canada and people thought it was the apocalypse

Some residents of Edmonton thought the world was ending last night when a giant pillar of light appeared in the middle of the night sky.

The mysterious beam, which looked like something from an alien invasion, was just a standard gas flare from an oil refinery on the outskirts of the Alberta city.

Still, social media users had a bit of fun with the phenomenon, snapping a few photos of it and anticipating the end of the world.

Flares are a planned, normal part of burning off flammable gasses that can cause over-pressuring if not released during the refining process.

This flare in particular, from the Imperial Oil refinery in Strathcona, is expected to last about two days.

Some speculated that the beam could be a rare effect caused by ice crystals in the air at this time of year.

Others assumed, or at least joked about, the worst.

Unfortunately, they're not that far off, as flares like this one contribute to climate change and are generally bad for humans and the environment, releasing carbon dioxide and potentially harmful emissions like sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides — two factors in acid rain and also, possibly, cancer.

Regardless, the light was a fascinating and unique occurrence that definitely seemed to catch the attention of Canadians in and around the Edmonton area.

Lead photo by

Keith Moore

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