The Northern Lights enthusiasts were in for a surprise over the weekend when a mysterious blue spiral appeared in the skies of Alaska. The unusual phenomenon was caught on camera, leaving those watching utterly perplexed. The breathtaking display resembled a galaxy, appearing among the green bands of light, and moving towards the spectators.
Photographer Todd Salat described the experience as a “beautiful piece of art in the sky” and said that it grew bigger and bigger, almost directly overhead within minutes. He added, “I had absolutely no idea what it was… I would say this was maybe the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Pictures of the unusual phenomenon set the internet abuzz with speculation of an approaching galaxy or alien life. However, experts believe the moving swirl was a result of a SpaceX rocket dumping excess fuel into the sky, turning into ice at high altitudes and reflecting sunlight to create the stunning display.
All photo credit goes to Elizabeth for these stunning views! The right place at the right time!
Don Hampton, a space physicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, explained that if the ice cloud is in the sunlight while the ground is in darkness, it creates a swirling effect that appears like a big cloud. The appearance of the spiral was captured in a time-lapse by the Geophysical Institute’s all-sky camera and created an internet storm.
The rocket, which had been launched from California, had about 25 satellites on board and was visible over a large swath of Alaska due to its polar launch. The fuel was dumped at just the right time to create the “really cool looking spiral thing,” said Prof Hampton. He added that it’s not a galaxy, but just water vapour reflecting sunlight.
In January, another spiral was spotted over Hawaii’s Big Island, captured by a camera at the summit of Mauna Kea outside the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Subaru telescope. Researchers had then said that it was from the launch of a military GPS satellite that lifted off earlier on a SpaceX rocket in Florida.
The Northern Lights display, coupled with such incredible phenomena, makes for an unforgettable experience, leaving onlookers in awe of the mysteries of the Universe.
Indeed, the appearance of the blue spiral over Alaska is just one of the many fascinating events that the universe has to offer. Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are already an awe-inspiring sight, and the addition of the spiral has only made the experience more magical.
The Northern Lights are caused by the collision of charged particles from the sun with particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. The collision creates a dazzling display of colourful lights in the sky, which can be seen in areas close to the magnetic poles.
While the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, they have also sparked human curiosity and imagination for centuries. The appearance of the mysterious blue spiral has reignited the debate about the existence of life beyond Earth. The possibility of extraterrestrial life has long fascinated scientists and the general public alike, and the universe’s vastness makes it even more tantalizing.
However, as the experts have explained, the blue spiral was just a result of a rocket dumping fuel into the sky, reflecting sunlight and creating an eye-catching display. But even though the spiral was not a sign of alien life, it’s still a remarkable event that has left people in wonder.
The recent developments in space exploration and technology have allowed us to discover new phenomena and understand more about the universe. However, there is still much to be learned and discovered about the cosmos, which leaves the door open for exciting new discoveries and innovations.
The blue spiral over Alaska has given us yet another glimpse into the mysteries of the universe. The beauty and wonder of the natural world, combined with human-made marvels, create a spectacle that leaves us humbled and inspired. We can only hope that more such events and discoveries await us in the future.
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