A mysterious blue spiral that looked like a galaxy appeared in the night sky over Hawaii, leading researchers to speculate about what could have caused the strange phenomenon.
A video captured on Jan. 18 by the Subaru-Asahi Star Camera on top of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, shows a dot of white light in the stars that expands into a blue whirlpool.
What was the mysterious spiral over Hawaii?
“The spiral seems to be related to the SpaceX company’s launch of a new satellite,” the Subaru Telescope tweeted.
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.— Subaru Telescope Eng (@SubaruTel_Eng) January 19, 2023
Watch the video:https://t.co/851Gz7VojV#SubaruTelescope pic.twitter.com/Np58fxpX9e
Earlier that same day, SpaceX launched a global positioning satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, The Washington Post reported.
The spiral was most likely comprised of frozen rocket fuel ejected during the SpaceX launch, according to LiveScience.
Have there been other ‘SpaceX spirals’?
“‘Space X spirals’ are becoming commonplace over the Pacific where Falcon 9 rocket stages are often deorbitted. They are created by plumes of unused fuel venting from the rocket’s spinning second stage before they plunge into the ocean,” per SpaceWeather.com.
In June, a similar blue spiral appeared over New Zealand following a Falcon 9 launch by SpaceX, Space.com reported.