Mystery of swirls over Alaska sky ‘solved’
Anchorage Daily News said that on Saturday morning, people were amazed to see whitish-blue swirls of light moving quickly over the northern horizon of Alaska.
The one who saw it As Todd Salat got closer, he said, “It kept getting bigger and bigger.” He didn’t even know what it was. He said that after about five minutes, it was almost directly above.
“It was like a beautiful piece of art in the sky,” he said. “This is probably the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” I said.
Salat, a photographer who specializes in the northern lights, said it took him two hours to take pictures of the moving auroras, which people had thought were “spiral” before.
A study associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, Don Hampton, said that the spiral “appears to be rocket engine exhaust from a SpaceX Transporter-7 mission that launched on the Falcon 9 about three hours earlier in California.”
Hampton wrote, “Water vapor in the exhaust from the second stage engine freezes and catches sunlight at a high altitude. This makes the display look like a spiral galaxy.”
“As the rocket got higher, it did this over Alaska, which shocked a lot of people who were watching at night,” he said.
Hundreds of miles away, there were also people who saw lightning in the sky.
Elizabeth Withnall, who was in the Northwest Arctic waiting to see the northern lights, said, “In the far north, we see a lot of strange things in the sky.”
“Around the moon, I’ve seen fog bows and rainbows. So I just thought, “This strange thing in the sky is pretty cool, but I don’t know what it is.”
Salat, who was trying to figure out what caused the auroras, said that solving the mystery was not as exciting as seeing the strange event for the first time.
“The swirl looked so good. It was lovely. “I have to say, it was kind of sad to think of it as waste,” he said. “I did like the mystery and not knowing what it was, but once I found out, the wonder of it all kind of wore off a little bit.”