The skies above an Australian town were lit up with a shockingly pink glow on Wednesday evening. Residents of Mildura in northwest Victoria were left dumbfounded (and a little bit scared) at the otherworldly pink illumination that hit the sky for just over half an hour.
“It was very bizarre looking and we had no idea what it was,” Tammy Szumowski, who took some incredible snaps of the sight, told IFLScience.
"It was a little scary not knowing what it was, but I was being a calm Mum, saying it's nothing to worry about so my kids wouldn't freak out," she added.
After uploading the images to social media, people’s imaginations ran wild. Tammy explained: “We had many comments saying is it an asteroid? or a comet? Is it the upside-down world from Stranger Things? Is it aliens?”
Within an hour of posting the images on social media, Tammy and her family discovered that the eerie lights were, in fact, coming from a top-secret medicinal cannabis farm owned by the pharmaceutical company Cann Group. The explanation has led some to call the lights "Aurora marijuanis."
“Locals were treated to a bit of a light show last night while we were testing one of the new cultivation zones at our facility. We can confidently say this was not a solar flare or an interdimensional portal,” the Cann Group confirmed on Twitter.
Cannabis plants need different spectrums of light in order to encourage their growth. Red light, for instance, is often used in the flowering stage to encourage plants to grow tall and to help promote budding.
Hoping to clear up some of the confusion, Cann Group CEO Peter Crock spoke to ABC News on Thursday morning.
“It's a brand new facility that's just become operational this year – really exciting and state-of-the-art technology," he told the TV breakfast show.
"We use LED lights in the facility [...] and we were testing a new room that's come into commission just yesterday. The lights normally shut at sunset. We were testing systems and they didn’t shut at sunset, but the lights did go off at 7 o’clock when we put the cannabis to sleep normally.”
The free light show was good publicity for the newly opened facility, but perhaps not ideal for a company that hopes to keep the location of their high-tech cannabis farm on the down low.
“It wasn't a mistake as such, although it definitely drew attention to the facility. It does remain an undisclosed location,” Crock added.