A SpaceX satellite launch may be the cause of the spectral blue spiral seen above Hawaii.
The intriguing spiral was discovered on January 18 by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan using its Subaru Telescope, just after SpaceX had launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying an enormous military satellite for the US Space Force.
Ichi Tanaka, a researcher with the Subaru Telescope, said that since he was preoccupied with other tasks that evening, he missed the strange shape that was growing in the telescope’s field of vision. The YouTube broadcast screenshot was then shared to him.
Tanaka said, “That is what I saw when I opened Slack and it was a jaw-dropping moment for me.”
The observatory broadcast a video of the spiral formation soaring above the Mauna Kea volcano before disappearing on Twitter, along with a photograph of the cosmic maelstrom.
On January 19, the Subaru Telescope posted on Twitter, “The Subaru-Asahi Star Camera photographed a mystery soaring spiral above Maunakea, Hawai’i.” The launch of a new satellite by the SpaceX firm seems to be connected to the spiral.
The tweet’s response from satellite tracker Scott Tilley noted that the spiral above Hawaii nearly matched the position of the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at the time of the launch, which took place from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
After the rocket booster (first stage) splits and crashes down to Earth, that part of the rocket propels its passenger satellite all the way into Earth’s orbit.
The mysterious spiral, according to SpaceWeather.com, which records occurrences of events like this, may have resulted from the first stage of the Falcon 9 spilling fuel as it plummeted.
On Jan 18, 2023 (HST), the Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured a mysterious flying spiral over Maunakea, Hawai`i. The spiral seems to be related to the SpaceX company’s launch of a new satellite.
Watch the video:https://t.co/851Gz7VojV#SubaruTelescope pic.twitter.com/Np58fxpX9e
— Subaru Telescope Eng (@SubaruTel_Eng) January 19, 2023
A spiral has been noticed in the sky after a SpaceX launch before. The Washington Post stated that a similar spiral was seen above Queenstown, New Zealand, after a launch in Florida in June 2022.
According to SpaceWeather.com, these SpaceX spirals are “becoming regular over the Pacific” as the corporation accelerates the number of Falcon 9 launches.
Various additional vibrant and ethereal sky patterns have also been created by Falcon 9 rockets. According to SpaceWeather.com, the same launch that may have caused the New Zealand spiral may have also caused a “smoke ring” formation above the central US.
Another well-known feature of the SpaceX rocket is the “space jellyfish” it often spray-paints across the sky as it soars through the atmosphere.