See the mysterious spiral swirling in Alaska sky amid aurora borealis
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute was taking a time-lapse of the auroras Saturday when the spiral appeared just before 2 a.m.
As if the northern lights weren't a spectacle enough, a strange and mysterious spiral appeared in the Alaska sky over the weekend.
Don Hampton and Jason Ahrns from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute were taking a time-lapse of the auroras Saturday when the spiral appeared just before 2 a.m.
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The video shows the dancing colors from the aurora before a bright, white spiral appeared within the green before quickly disappearing.
TMX says that the likely cause of the spiral is rocket engine exhaust from the SpaceX Transporter-7 mission that launched late Friday evening at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch passed over Alaska, and the spiral was likely created by water vapor in the engine exhaust freezing at high altitudes and catching the sunlight.
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SpaceX said the mission carried 51 spacecraft, including CubeSats, MicroSats, hosted payloads and orbital transfer vehicles
Earlier in the year, a similar white spiral swirled over Hawaii, and officials say that instance was likely related to a SpaceX mission, including the deployment of a satellite.