Spirals Of Blue Light Appear In New Zealand Sky, Experts Point To SpaceX Launch

Spirals of blue light appear in New Zealand skies, experts point to SpaceX launch

The blue spiral appeared in the night sky over New Zealand on Sunday.

Stargazers in New Zealand were surprised by strange spiraling light formations in the night sky on Sunday evening. The photos were widely shared on social media, with many New Zealanders comparing them to some sort of “wormhole”. But experts said these “crazy-looking clouds” were caused by a Falcon 9 rocket powered by a Globalstar DM15 satellite.

The extraordinary sight was first recorded by residents of Nelson, a town on New Zealand’s North Island, and was visible 750 km south of Stewart Island.

“Does anyone know if there is a satellite in orbit over New Zealand tonight or maybe an Australian satellite saw something like the photo I posted tonight at about 1920 looking slightly west at a high altitude Rangiora Canterbury ,” Facebook user inch Justin posted in Astronomy in New Zealand group.

“The photo I posted is just a sample of what I saw. I couldn’t get a photo of it, just grabbed my binoculars and looked at what appeared to be a satellite in the center of the spiral moving at high speed. went north from knots,” the user continued.

Users flooded the group with comments. “Yes, some of us saw it from Hawke’s Bay, near the tail of Canis Major, and then to the northeast,” commented one user.

“It sure is cool,” said another.

Prof Richard Easther, a physicist at the University of Auckland, explained the reason behind the phenomenon. Such clouds sometimes occurred when a rocket launched a satellite into orbit, he said the guard

“When the propellant is ejected at the back, you have what is essentially water and carbon dioxide — which briefly forms a cloud in space that is lit by the sun,” said Professor Easther. “The geometry of the satellite’s orbit and also the way we sit relative to the sun — that combination of things was just right to produce these completely crazy-looking clouds that were visible from the South Island.”

The New Plymouth Astronomical Society said on Facebook it was “most likely a “fuel dump” or “exhaust plume” from a SpaceX rocket launch,” as similar effects have been observed before.

According to Professor Easther, the rocket in question was Falcon 9, which SpaceX used to send a satellite into low Earth orbit on Sunday.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk congratulated the Falcon team on the launches. “Congratulations to the SpaceX Falcon team for completing 3 flawless launches in 2 days!” he said on Twitter.

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