Science & Tech

Mysterious 'flying spiral' spotted hovering over Hawaii

Airplane Captain Captures SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch During Flight

Stargazers were treated to a mysterious sight last week, as an ethereal spiral appeared in the night sky.

A telescope located on Hawai’s dormant Mauna Kea volcano captured the apparition, which began as just an inconspicuous dot before transforming into a stunning, shimmering swirl.

Timelapse footage from the Subaru Telescope was posted to YouTube on Thursday, and it’s quite something to behold, as you can see for yourself below.

A caption to the clip reads: “In the early morning of [January] 18, 2023, an unusual object appeared over Maunakea, Hawaii.”

A "Mysterious" Flying Spiral over Maunakea 2023-01-18 UT / マウナケア上空にまた渦巻き出現!youtu.be


It goes on: “At first it was just a small dot at the left center of the view, then it ejected an arc-like feature.

“It became slightly larger… A bright dot appeared in the blob, then it grew into a spiral.”

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So what was behind the phenomenon?

None other than Elon Musk.

Well, not him specifically, but his SpaceX team.

“The spiral seems to be related to the SpaceX company’s launch of a new satellite,” officials from the National Astronomical Observatory explained in a tweet.

Musk’s company did indeed launch its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday, carrying a GPS satellite for the US Space Force.

But where did that spiral come from?

Satellite tracker Scott Tilley suggested it was caused by a vent from the Falcon 9, as the rocket released fuel during its descent into the Atlantic Ocean.

This isn’t the first time a SpaceX launch has given birth to a “crazy blue spiral”.

In June last year, a New Zealand woman managed to take a photo of a “bizarre but very cool” swirl in the sky above her house following a Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral earlier that day, while over in Illinois, a man captured a “smoke ring” as the satellite entered orbit.

Who knew the Twitter boss could be behind moments of such serene beauty?

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