A strange spiral of flying blue light, with the appearance of a galaxy, was seen in the Hawaiian sky, on the 18th.
This phenomenon was recorded by a camera on the Japanese Subaru telescope – one of 13 large observatories, from different countries, located on the top of the 4,200-meter Mauna Kea volcano.
The team explains that in the beginning it was just a point in space; Then it turned into a bow-like image. And it grew until it turned into a whirlpool.
Watch a quick video (time lapse):
What could it be?
- Astronomers believe the spiral is associated with a SpaceX rocket
- Freezing fuel that is expelled during launch can cause this effect.
- The Falcon 9 rocket launched from Florida on the 18th, carrying a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite for the US Air Force.
- This wasn’t the first time a galaxy’s shape had been associated with Falcon 9.
- Experts have already dubbed this phenomenon “SpaceX spirals”.
Why does that happen?
The rocket’s first stage, which generates the greatest thrust, separated about three minutes after launch (and was recovered on the ground). The second stage then used its small motor to travel to where it would launch the satellite.
After leaving its payload, any remaining fuel is ejected so that the second stage can also return safely. This process may have caused it to spin for a few minutes until it came to rest in the Pacific Ocean (on an independent ferry from the company).
The result is a spiral cloud of frozen fuel crystals illuminated by sunlight.
This is not the first time
In April 2022, the same camera Subaru Asahi A star in Hawaii also captured a similar scene after the launch of the Falcon 9. In June of the same year, a vortex was also seen from New Zealand. It’s no coincidence: In general, the stages of SpaceX’s rockets are located in the Pacific Ocean, which is why the region is so privileged in observing these strange phenomena.
The frozen fuel has also caused stunning visual anomalies in other parts of the world. In March of last year, a Chinese rocket created a great rotating ball of light that hit the Northern Lights in Alaska. In October 2017, a larger blue orb was seen over Siberia, caused by Russian military missile tests.
Shortly after launch, the Falcon 9 often leaves strange patterns in the Florida sky, like “space jellyfish.”
With information from space, space weather and live science.
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