A giant spiral appears amidst the Northern Lights in the Alaskan night sky

A giant spiral appears amidst the Northern Lights in the Alaskan night sky
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A photographer capturing the aurora lights over Alaska on Saturday night was stunned when a giant blue spiral appeared above him.

seasoned Would like the Northern Lights connections He says that while filming, he spotted a “real bright light” coming from the northern horizon over Delta Junction in Alaska.

“I thought, What the hell is this?!” He says petapixel. “I started taking pictures of it and the closer I got, the more prominent the spiral became.”

SpaceX Vortex
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Prayer says that the body began to grow in size and fell on it in minutes. The photographer was “totally clueless” about what it was, but his Nikon D850 was set up on a tripod to capture the phenomenon over the Donnely Dome.

“This was the composition I had been shooting for a couple of nights, hoping to get something special,” he explains. “Wow, I didn’t expect this and I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried.”

What is the mysterious snail over Alaska?

Salat didn’t immediately realize he was witnessing the “SpaceX Spiral”. like observed by space climateThree hours ago, SpaceX 51 launched a small satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, about 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers) away.

The all-sky camera at the University of Alaska’s Poker Flat Research Range also captured the strange swirl on Saturday night.

SpaceX’s rockets are designed to land on Earth, but the Falcon 9 second stage does not. Instead, it burns up in the atmosphere, but before doing so it vents unused fuel which often takes on an amazing spiral shape.

“The Falcon first-stage rocket quickly carried a payload of 51 satellites into orbit, separated them, and returned to base,” Salat explains.

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The second stage, with one Merlin engine, the satellites deployed within the first hour. The second stage engine sailed around our plant, now empty of cargo, and after three hours arrived over Alaska.

“I think the unique shape is caused by excess fuel being dumped, causing a vortex, and so it could disintegrate and eventually splash out into the Pacific Ocean.

“I understand that the frozen water vapor in the fuel emissions is glowing bluish-white by sunlight at high altitudes and voila, spiral art in the sky.”

SpaceX map
Map showing the Falcon 9 launch pad from Vandenberg Space Station and where Salat SpaceX spotted Swirl 3,000 miles away near Donnelly Dome, Alaska.

“It’s fun and interesting to think about it might be a portal or aliens, and I’ve heard my share of conspiracy theories, but I think it could easily be interpreted as ‘rocket science,'” Salat continues.

“I will say I loved the wonder of not knowing what it was. The aurora borealis continued to dance, so it was hours before I had time to look up and try to spot this unique phenomenon I had witnessed.

“Those were the finest hours of happy bewilderment.”

While most people are unaware of this phenomenon, it is becoming more common with the appearance of a vortex over Hawaii in January.

More of Salah’s work can be viewed by visiting his website Aurora Hunter. He also has a file Facebook page.


Image credits: All photos by Todd Salatt.

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