Technology

Mystery of “glowing vortices” over the US solved – and Elon Musk is to blame

AN UNUSUAL glowing vortex of light filmed over Hawaii on Sunday wasn’t the result of extraterrestrials, after all.

Spotted by one of the island’s many telescopes, the mysterious “Night Spiral” was actually a dying SpaceX rocket.

A mysterious vortex of light spotted over Hawaii on April 17 was a deorbiting SpaceX rocket booster

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A mysterious vortex of light spotted over Hawaii on April 17 was a deorbiting SpaceX rocket boosterPhoto credit: Subaru Telescope

It was imaged by the Subaru Telescope April 17 near Mauna Kea, hours after a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from California.

The booster launched a top-secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

After the separation of the NROL-85 spacecraft carrying the satellite, the rocket’s second booster deorbited over the Pacific Ocean.

This is a standard procedure at SpaceX – which is operated by billionaire Elon Musk – and ensures that defective rocket parts are safely disposed of because they will burn up on re-entry.

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The booster’s violent sinking resulted in the spiral being captured by Subaru, a telescope operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

The video “shows the characteristic spiral caused by the fuel bleed after the Falcon 9 upper stage deorbit burn” called Netherlands-based satellite tracker Marco Langbroek.

He added that the object “was deorbited over the Pacific shortly after the end of the 1st Revolution”.

After the first images of the vortex were released, some conspiracy theorists posited that it was a sign of extraterrestrial life.

Satellite NROL-85 lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 6:13 a.m. EST aboard a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

It was the NRO’s first mission to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster, Vandenberg said in a statement.

The Falcon first stage flew back and landed at the coastal base northwest of Los Angeles.

However, Falcon 9’s upper stage is not reusable and naturally fell back into the atmosphere after completing its mission.

It is known that the spiraling patterns that form when the boosters burn up are caused by escaping gas.

The NRO described the NROL-85 satellite only as a critical national security payload.

The launch was one of three awarded to SpaceX by the Air Force in 2019 for a combined fixed price of $297 million.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the National Reconnaissance Office mission (NROL-85) launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Sunday

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the National Reconnaissance Office mission (NROL-85) launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on SundayCredit: AP

The NGO is the government agency responsible for the development, construction, launch, and maintenance of US satellites.

They provide intelligence data to high-level policymakers, intelligence agencies, and the Department of Defense.

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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8679182/mystery-glowing-swirl-usa-elon-musk-spacex/ Mystery of “glowing vortices” over the US solved – and Elon Musk is to blame

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