A New Zealand resident sighted a “bizarre but very cool” blue spiral above her house after a SpaceX launch on Sunday, June 19th.

Clare Rehill snapped the spiral in the sky above Queenstown. It is a town on New Zealand’s South Island. She posted the image on Twitter⁠ early in the morning her time on Monday, June 20th, believing that “it’s got something to do with SpaceX.”

Her instincts were fortunate. The sky show appeared courtesy of a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday at 12:27 a.m. EDT, holding up a communications satellite for the Louisiana-based company Globalstar to orbit.

“The smoke ring Wood saw was the ‘puff’ of separation,” the website’s astronomer Tony Phillips wrote. “At the time, the rocket was more than 1100 km high, so people were able to see it across much of North America.”

“This phenomenon happened because the gas in the rocket’s engine nozzles was at a higher pressure than the surrounding air; the rising sun, just below the horizon, then illuminated the plume,” Chris Combs explained on Twitter. He is a professor of aerodynamics and mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio. SpaceX’s Globalstar liftoff was the third within 36 hours for the company. The company launched 53 Starlink satellites on Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, along with a radar satellite for the German military from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Saturday.

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.


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