UNITED STATES: A spiral-like swirl in the night sky was captured by a camera on top of Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea.
The strange phenomenon, as per researchers, is connected to a military GPS satellite that was launched in Florida by a SpaceX rocket.
Spiral appears in the night sky above Hawaii
The pictures were captured on January 18 by a camera at the top of Mauna Kea, outside the Subaru telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
A white orb that is moving across the sky in a spiral can be seen spreading out in a time-lapse video. After that, it starts to fade away.
A researcher at the observatory named Ichi Tanaka claimed he did not notice it right away since he was working on other tasks that evening. Then, a stargazer who was viewing the camera’s live YouTube video provided him with a screenshot of the spiral via an online messaging system.
“When I opened Slack, that is what I saw, and it was a jaw-dropping event for me,” Tanaka stated. He witnessed a similar spiral last April, also following a SpaceX launch, but that was larger and fainter.
In the early hours of January 18, SpaceX launched a military satellite from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The spiral’s location matched the predicted position of the SpaceX rocket’s second stage after liftoff.
An email seeking comment received no response from SpaceX. Tanaka stated that the observatory installed the camera to keep an eye on the area outside the Subaru telescope and to share pictures of the starry skies over Mauna Kea.
He claimed that someone viewing the sky in less clear conditions, for instance, from Tokyo, might not have spotted the spiral.
The live stream, which runs in conjunction with the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, regularly draws hundreds of spectators. Some viewers tune in to see meteors.
The top of Mauna Kea offers some of the greatest astronomical viewing conditions on Earth, making it a preferred location for the most sophisticated observatories. Many native Hawaiians also regard the summit as sacred, seeing it as a location where the gods dwell.
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