Mysterious spiral caught by telescope in night sky over Hawaii

No alien or UFO, a rocket launch may have contributed to this.
Ameya Paleja
The mysterious spiral
The mysterious spiral

A mysterious spiral was seen traveling across the night sky in Hawaii earlier this month and was captured by the Subaru Telescope, The Washington Post reported. A video of the event was also shared on social media.

Mysterious or unexplained sightings in the night sky are not new phenomena and have been observed by sky gazers for centuries. What has changed these days is the ability to capture the sight and share it with the rest of the world.

One would believe that this ability would reduce the conspiracy theories around such sightings. However, as we have seen recently, the number of officially reported unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) has now gone up, and hundreds remain unexplained. The U.S. government has also stated that sightings can be caused by faulty equipment or as a result of sensor malfunction.

Who captured the video?

To ensure that the sighting wasn't just an artifact of equipment, we can go back to the source, which in this case happens to be the Subaru-Asahi Star Camera installed at the Subaru Telescope dome in Maunakea, Hawaii.

On the night of January 18, the sight emerged over the Mauna Kea volcano, which has been dormant for over two millennia. As seen in the video, the object appeared like a small object. It slowly spanned into a spiral after emitting an arc-like wave, all of which the camera captured in the most incredible detail possible.

For years the camera has been bringing crystal-clear images of a starry night sky. It also spotted a rare meteor cluster a couple of years ago. So, we know that there was no artifact or equipment malfunction here. It was the researchers at the observatory that put out the video, seeking an explanation of what might have been the cause.

What caused the spiral?

In a tweet shared on January 20, the Subaru Telescope social media handle attributed the spiral to a SpaceX, which had taken place earlier on January 18. A Falcon 9 rocket took off at 7:24 am from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida to put a global positioning system satellite in medium orbit.

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According to the Washington Post's report, similar spirals have previously been recorded following other SpaceX launches. The Subaru telescope captured one in April last year, but it wasn't as clear as the above video.

There isn't a scientifically validated explanation for the spiral so far. So, the speculation is that it is caused by the expulsion of leftover fuel from the rocket launch.

Interestingly, the Subaru Space Telescope even captured some flickering beams of green light coming from a remote sensing laser last week, the WaPo report added. As we add more satellites and constellations, have we already begun ruining the skies for our telescopes?

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