Weird Science

Alaskan Sky Spiral Mystery Solved

Aurora And Spiral in the Sky over Alaska. Todd Salat.

Photographer Captures Mesmerizing Spiral, Later Identified as Rocket Engine Exhaust

A mesmerizing spiral in the Alaskan sky recently captivated onlookers, raising questions about its origin. However, the breathtaking phenomenon now has a simple explanation.

Awe-Inspiring Spiral Galaxy-Like Scene in Alaska’s Sky

Photographer Todd Salat was near Delta Junction, Alaska, capturing images of the Northern Lights when he witnessed an incredible sight: a bright light on the northern horizon that rapidly spiraled as it approached. The mysterious blue-white spiral lasted for about five minutes, leaving Salat in awe.

Salat, who specializes in photographing the northern lights, spent two hours taking photos of the sky, wondering what the spiral could be.

SpaceX Transporter-7 Mission Identified as Source

Don Hampton, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, revealed that the spiral was rocket engine exhaust from SpaceX’s Transporter-7 mission, launched on the Falcon 9 rocket three hours earlier in California. The exhaust’s water vapor froze and trapped sunlight at high altitudes, glowing and creating the spiral galaxy shape.

Alaskan Residents Marvel at Unusual Phenomenon

Elizabeth Withnall, a midwife in Kotzebue, Alaska, was also out early Saturday morning hoping to see the aurora borealis. She captured photos of the spiral and posted them to a Facebook group where others shared the SpaceX launch explanation. Withnall admitted that the mystery’s resolution was somewhat disappointing compared to the initial wonder.

The mysterious spiral that captivated Alaskan sky gazers has been identified as SpaceX rocket engine exhaust, a fascinating reminder of how science and technology can create awe-inspiring sights in the natural world.

Featured image Salat.

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