This bright orange line that lit up the night sky left netizens speculating that it was the eye of the evil lord Sauron peering out across Middle Earth from the depths of Mordor.
The ‘Eye of Sauron’ took place in north-western France, lighting up the night sky in the departments of Normandy and Seine-Maritime on 9th and 10th December.
Eagle-eyed netizens took to social media to share the strange images, with some speculating that it might be the “eye of Sauron” beaming from “Mordor”, the fictional Middle-Earth realm from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’, turned into films to much acclaim by director Peter Jackson.
The Eye of Sauron is finally destroyed in ‘The Return of the King’ when the One Ring is destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom.
Others speculated that the mysterious light might be aliens. Neither the authorities nor the weather service could explain the strange phenomenon.
French media outlets have reported that the weather service was bombarded with messages on Twitter asking for answers, but they said that they were unable to explain the phenomenon.
The French fire service in Seine-Maritime told news outlet France Bleu that no fire took place in the department at the time, adding that they were also able to observe the phenomenon from their fire station in the commune of Yvetot.
Netizen ‘Vinzradio’ shared images of the event on Twitter and commented: “What is happening in [the city of] Rouen? Mordor? Aliens? Is it happening? Is it now?”
Commenting on one of the photographs shared by Meteo Basse-Normandie on Facebook, ‘Sylvain Blin’ said: “It is the Eye of Sauron!”
While ‘Coraliemoreaufb’ asked: “This orange line in the sky is strange. What caused it?”
Finally, an answer was provided by Exxon Mobil. The sky had turned orange due to a massive flame emanating from a petrochemical factory operated by the oil giant at their Port-Jerome-sur-Seine site.
The company said it was a “temporary disruption of the steam cracking unit”.
They also apologised to local residents for any inconvenience caused.
Steam cracking is a process that breaks down hydrocarbons into smaller hydrocarbons using a furnace, often to make lighter alkenes, including propene and ethene.
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