The illuminated ball of light was seen by countless residents of the Yamalo-Nenets region in Siberia, Russia, last week, prompting cries of “aliens arriving”.

As freaky spherical shapes in the sky tend to make people do, there were numerous theories and pronouncements on social media ranging from a UFO invasion to a hole in the space-time continuum.

“I went out to smoke a cigarette and thought it was the end of the world,” one guy remarked on Russian social media site VK.

“The ball began to turn into an arc and gradually dissipated,” another said.

Siberian photographer Sergey Anisimov captured the sight and admitted: “At first 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.

“It’s good that I was not alone… they made it clear that the group of people cannot hallucinate.

“This is such a vision!”

Anastasia Boldyreva posted simply: “Aliens arrived.”

Another local Nurgazy Taabaldiev said: “It’s a gap in the space-time continuum.”

Yet there’s a surprising explanation for the mysterious ball of light in the night sky last week.

According to the Kremlin (reported by IFL Science), on the same day President Vladimir Putin personally fired four ballistic missiles during a test of Russia’s nuclear forces.

Rocket launches have been known to create similar optical illusions in the skies.

Alas, it seems that aliens haven’t come to visit us just yet. Russian rocket launches by President Vladimir Putin is still interesting news, though.

See the video below of how a similar rocket was launched.