Mystery of Blue Spiral in New Zealand Sky Dispelled

CC BY 4.0 / / Starry night skyStarry night sky
Starry night  sky - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.06.2022
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One eyewitness reportedly described the phenomenon in question as a "white dot with a tiny spiral” that traversed the night sky.
A peculiar blue shape moving across the sky was spotted by stargazers in New Zealand late on Sunday, leaving a number of them wondering what it was.
The spiraling plume of gas was witnessed “across the night sky from Nelson all the way to Stewart Island”, according to the Stuff, with Alasdair Burns, a 34-year old owner of a stargazing business, describing the phenomenon in question as the strangest thing he had seen in the night sky.
“It was absolutely bizarre. It was like a massive spiral. And it very, very slowly, serenely moving north across the night sky and then just sort of dissipating as it went,” he said.
Augustine Matthews, 54, who also witnessed the spiral shape, said that it looked like “looked like a planet or star”.
“It was just a white dot with a tiny spiral,” she added. “And within 10 minutes it had traversed half the sky and the spiral had grown three times in size.”
But while some speculated about what might have caused this sight, a physics professor at the University of Auckland named Richard Easther has explained that it was merely a plume of a rocket.
“They are ‘clouds’ created by the exhaust plumes of the rocket, which would have been illuminated by the sun,” he said as quoted by the media outlet. “It’s similar to the effect you sometimes see at sunset when the setting sun lights up the underside of high clouds.”
He added that the rocket that left this plume likely was the SpaceX’s Global Star Mission that was launched on Sunday and passed over New Zealand.
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