Telescope captures stunning footage of 'flying whirlpool' above Hawaii

The Subaru Telescope located in Hawaii has captured a stunning video of what has been described as a 'flying whirlpool'.

1 minute & 55 seconds read time

The Subaru Telescope, located in Hawaii near Mauna Kea and situated at an altitude of 13,579 feet, has captured a video of a "flying whirlpool". has described the object as a "flying whirlpool," and it was spotted by the Subaru Telescope on Sunday, April 17, only hours after the launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. LiveScience and confirm that the "flying whirlpool" was caused by the post-deorbit-burn fuel vent of the Falcon 9 upper stage that sends it out of its orbit back down to Earth to burn up eventually.

SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on April 17. While the upper stage of the Falcon 9 isn't reusable, the first stage is, and its reusability was displayed by a few videos posted to SpaceX's official Twitter account. These videos show the first stage successfully landing atop a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Read more: Elon Musk's SpaceX transports a classified payload to into space

According to Netherlands-based satellite tracker Marco Langbroek who spoke to, the above video showcases "the characteristic spiral caused by the post-deorbit-burn fuel vent of the Falcon 9 upper stage, which was deorbited over the Pacific [Ocean] just after the end of the 1st revolution."

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Telescope captures stunning footage of 'flying whirlpool' above Hawaii 01

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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