There is a rocket in the middle of the Northern Lights

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A large swirl of white light, known as a “SpaceX spiral” was photographed during an aurora display above Iceland last week.
A massive swirl of bright white light seemingly appeared from out of nowhere in the night sky above the Arctic last week, briefly upstaging a vibrant aurora display that spanned thousands of miles.
The ethereal, galaxy-shaped light show was caused by an illuminated cloud of frozen fuel that was dumped in space by a SpaceX rocket, which released dozens of satellites into low-Earth orbit.
Astronomers call this rare phenomenon a “SpaceX spiral,” and expect them to become a much more common sight in the future.
On March 4, at 5:05 p.m. EST, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The rocket was part of the Transport-10 mission and was carrying 53 satellites belonging to several different commercial space companies, which were successfully released into orbit around our planet around two hours after launch, Live Science’s sister site Space.com reported .
Shortly after payload deployment, the rocket’s second stage, which had already separated from the rocket’s reusable first-stage booster , began to de-orbit and later burned up in the atmosphere above the Barents Sea in the Arctic.
During this maneuver, the spinning rocket dumped its remaining fuel into space, which then froze into tiny crystals that spread out in a spiral shape and reflected sunlight to Earth.
Related: Ethereal halo of light around full moon spotted during recent SpaceX rocket launchThe Transporter-10 mission launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 5:05 p.m. EST on March 4.
(Image credit: SpaceX)Aurora photographer Shang Yang captured a stunning photo of the illuminated swirl near the town of Akureyri in Iceland at around 1 a.m. local time on March 5.
“It looked otherworldly against the Northern Lights ,” Shang told Spaceweather.com .
The spectacle lasted for around 10 minutes before dissipating.
The whirlpool of light was also captured during an aurora livestream in Iceland, and was photographed in Finland and in Norway, where it had a striking blue color .
SpaceX spirals are rare.
But they are becoming more common as the number of SpaceX launches increases .
In April 2023, a stunning blue SpaceX spiral photobombed an aurora display above Alaska .
The phenomenon has also been spotted twice by a camera attached to the Subaru Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea: first in April 2022 and again in January last year .
The spirals do not appear after every launch, for several reasons — including the spin rate of the booster, time of day and the orientation of the rocket compared to Earth and the sun .
This makes it hard to tell when they will be visible.
However, astrophotographer Olivier Staiger correctly predicted that the Transport-10 mission would produce a spiral above the Arctic, Spaceweather.com reported.
He realized that the rocket’s varied payload would require it to spin more than normal during deployment, which would mean it would still be spinning fast when it dumped its fuel.
Staiger also predicts that there will be another strong SpaceX spiral above Iceland and other parts of the Arctic when the Transporter-12 mission launches in October this year.

Photographs taken last week during an aurora display over Iceland show a large swirl of white light known as a “SpaceX spiral.”.

A brilliant aurora display that stretched thousands of miles was momentarily overshadowed last week by a massive swirl of bright white light that seemed to emerge out of nowhere in the night sky above the Arctic.

An illuminated cloud of frozen fuel that was released into space by a SpaceX rocket that launched numerous satellites into low-Earth orbit was the source of the ethereal, galaxy-shaped light display.

Scientists refer to this unusual occurrence as a “SpaceX spiral” and predict that they will become much more frequent in the future.

4.03.2019, at 5:05 p.m. me. SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the Californian Vandenberg Space Force Base at EST. 53 satellites from various commercial space companies were successfully launched into orbit around our planet approximately two hours after the rocket, which was a part of the Transport-10 mission, was launched, according to Live Science’s sister site Space . com.

The rocket’s second stage, which had already broken apart from the reusable first-stage booster, started to de-orbit shortly after the payload was deployed. Later, it burned up in the atmosphere above the Barents Sea in the Arctic. The spinning rocket burned off the fuel during this maneuver, spitting it out into space where it froze into tiny crystals that radiated sunlight back to Earth in the form of a spiral.

Related: During a recent SpaceX rocket launch, an ethereal halo of light was observed around the full moon.

at Vandenberg Space Force Base, the Transporter-10 mission was launched at 5:05 p.m. m. EST on March 4. (Image courtesy of SpaceX).

Around one in the morning, Icelandic photographer Shang Yang took this amazing picture of the illuminated swirl close to the town of Akureyri. m. March 5 local time. Shang said to Spaceweather . com ., “It looked otherworldly against the Northern Lights.” The show lasted for about ten minutes before ending.

The whirlwind of light, which had a striking blue color, was also photographed in Finland and Norway, and was captured during an aurora livestream in Iceland.

Spirals in SpaceX are uncommon. However, as the quantity of SpaceX launches rises, they are becoming more typical.

A gorgeous blue SpaceX spiral captured the moment when it photobombed an aurora display above an Alaskan . in April 2023. The phenomenon was also captured twice by a camera mounted on the Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii: once in January of last year and again in April of 2022.

It is challenging to predict when the spirals will become visible because they do not always appear following launch for a variety of reasons, such as the booster’s spin rate, the time of day, and the rocket’s orientation with respect to Earth and the sun dot.

But according to Spaceweather.com, astrophotographer Olivier Staiger was right when he predicted that the Transport-10 mission would create a spiral above the Arctic. He understood that because of its varied payload, the rocket would have to spin faster during deployment, meaning it would continue to spin quickly even after it released its fuel.

Additionally, Staiger anticipates that when the Transporter-12 mission launches in October of this year, there will be another powerful SpaceX spiral over Iceland and other Arctic regions.

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