Northern Lights fans were “bewildered”, after a spiral of baby blue colour, resembling that of a galaxy, appeared in the sky above Alaska.
The sky spiral, which might have appeared as a portal or the start of an invasion by aliens, was actually caused by the excess fuel from a SpaceX Rocket that had launched in California three hours before.
Sometimes rockets contain fuel that must be jettisoned from the aircraft. “When they do this at high altitudes that fuel turns to ice,” explained space physicist Don Hampton. Hampton is a research assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.
When you are in darkness, it can look like a big cloud. Sometimes it is swirly.
The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, on Friday, 14 April.
It was not surprising that the Geophysical Institute’s all-sky cam captured the rare event in time-lapse.
Todd Salat, a professional photographer, was equally amazed by the spiral thing he called “really cool”.
He said, “This happened while it passed over Alaska in a beautiful display of auroras that stunned many night-watchers like myself.”
“At first I was completely confused.” “I now know that it can be explained by rocket science but I enjoyed the feeling of mystery and the unknown during the experience.”
The blue spiral was visible in parts of Alaska because of the timing of fuel dump, and also the fact that it was a Polar Launch.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is set to launch the world’s most powerful rocket this week after the first attempt was cancelled due to a technical glitch.
The will launch from the southern Texas area between 8:28am local time (2.28pm UK) and 9:30am UK time (3.30pm UK), Thursday 20th April.