A Mysterious Whirlpool Appeared Over Hawaii (Video)

A ghostly blue spiral that was spotted in the sky over Hawaii on January 18th could be connected to the recent SpaceX satellite launch. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan first observed the mysterious spiral through its Subaru Telescope, which was not initially noticed by a researcher who was occupied with other work at the time.

The researcher was later sent a screenshot of the spiral from a YouTube livestream. The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a military satellite for the US Space Force took place in Cape Canaveral, Florida, but a satellite tracker pointed out that the location of the spiral over Hawaii closely matched the location of the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at the time.

“When I opened Slack, that is what I saw and it was a jaw-dropping event for me,” TIchi Tanaka, a researcher with the Subaru Telescope.

The second stage of the rocket is responsible for pushing the satellite into Earth’s orbit after the first stage separates and falls back to Earth. According to SpaceWeather.com, which tracks sightings of such phenomena, the spiral could have been caused by the Falcon 9’s first stage dumping fuel as it descended.

On Twitter, the observatory shared an image of the cosmic whirlpool and posted a video of the spiral formation flying over the Mauna Kea volcano, then dissipating.

“The Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured a mysterious flying spiral over Maunakea, Hawai`i,” the Subaru Telescope said on Twitter on January 19. “The spiral seems to be related to the SpaceX company’s launch of a new satellite.”

This is not the first time a spiral has been seen after a SpaceX launch, with a similar one being seen over Queenstown, New Zealand after a Florida launch in June 2022. As SpaceX increases the pace of Falcon 9 launches, spirals such as these are becoming more common over the Pacific, according to SpaceWeather.com.

In addition to the spirals, Falcon 9 rockets have also created other stunning sky formations, such as smoke rings and the “space jellyfish” effect as it travels through the atmosphere. These unique displays have become somewhat expected after SpaceX launches, and are widely appreciated by those who get the chance to witness them.

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