Experts believe the pheomenon was linked to frozen rocket fuel that was ejected during the launch (Picture: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan)
In the early morning hours of January 18, a flying spiral was captured on camera by the Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatory.
The galaxy whirlpool ‘seems to be related to the SpaceX company’s launch of a new satellite’, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan representatives said on Twitter.
SpaceX had launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral to deploy a satellite into a medium-earth orbit earlier on the same day.
Experts believe the pheomenon was linked to frozen rocket fuel that was ejected during the launch.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX had launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida carrying a new GPS satellite for the US Space Force, as reported by Space.com.
The rocket’s first stage, which provides the main propulsion for lift off, separated from the payload-carrying second stage around 3 minutes after launch and eventually returned to the Earth.
After separating from the first stage, the second stage uses its engine to propel itself into position to deploy the satellite after which any remaining fuel is ejected before reentry.
This causes the second stage to enter a spin before deorbiting and falling down to Earth in the Pacific ocean.
The result was the dazzling whirlpool of frozen fuel crystals in the shape of a spiral, which were illuminated by sunlight, according to Spaceweather.com
This is not the first time that SpaceX rockets have caused dazzling light shows.
a flying spiral was captured on camera by the Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatory (Picture: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan)
In April 2022, the Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured a similar spiral of light after SpaceX launched a satellite into orbit on another Falcon 9 rocket.
Falcon 9 launches are known for producing strange atmospheric effects, including bow shocks and rocket ‘jellyfishes’.
With SpaceX planning more than a 100 Falcon 9 launches this year, light shows like this one are likely to be spotted more often.
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It was just frozen rocket fuel ejected during a SpaceX launch.