SpaceX caused a massive swirl of white light to appear in the sky out of nowhere

Astronomers call this rare phenomenon the 'SpaceX spiral,' seemingly appearing out of nowhere in the night sky above the Arctic last week.

1 minute & 38 seconds read time

Last week, astronomers witnessed a massive swirl of white light seemingly appear out of thin air in the night sky above the Arctic.

The Falcon 9 rocket that caused the "SpaceX spiral"

The Falcon 9 rocket that caused the "SpaceX spiral"

Reports indicate that this swirl of bright white light can be traced back to Elon Musk's rocket company, SpaceX. The rare phenomenon is being described by astronomers as a "SpaceX spiral" and is caused by an illuminated cloud of frozen fuel that was dumped by a SpaceX rocket while transporting cargo to low-Earth orbit. Astronomers expect to see many more of these "SpaceX spirals" as the company continues to advance its rocket technology and conduct more frequent launches into orbit.

So, what rocket caused this ethereal white spiral? SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket on March 4 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, transporting 53 satellites into Earth's orbit. The mission was a success, and shortly after the payload of the rocket (the satellites) was deployed, the rocket's second stage, already detached from the first stage booster, began to re-enter Earth's atmosphere. As the rocket plummets toward Earth's surface, it begins to spin, dump its fuel, and burn up. The Falcon 9 first stage burned up above the Barents Sea in the Arctic.

The remaining fuel from the rocket quickly froze, forming tiny crystals that spread out into a spiral shape. Sunlight shone through these crystals and produced the above incredible image.

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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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