A blue spiral is visible next to a shooting star in the sky above Mauna Kea, Hawaii, on Jan. 18. (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and Asahi Shimbun)
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MAUNA KEA, Hawaii — Just when you thought a tropical paradise couldn’t get any better, a mesmerizing blue spiral dazzled the sky above the Big Island of Hawaii on Jan. 18.
Although it looked like a brand new galaxy was coming into view, in reality, the spiral was from a navigation satellite launched by SpaceX.
Space.com said SpaceX sent a global positioning satellite into space for the U.S. Space Force in the early morning of Jan. 18.
The Subaru-Asahi STAR Camera at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan spotted the mysterious spiral shortly afterward. The telescope is located on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
The video shows a bright dot in the sky that slowly becomes larger, and ejects an arc-like feature. The dot becomes brighter and then turns into a spiral before fading away.
“The spiral seems to be related to the SpaceX company’s launch of a new satellite,” Subaru Telescope officials said on Twitter.
The spaceship was a Falcon 9 rocket, which has left behind interesting patterns before. Space.com said the shapes happen when gas in the rocket engine’s nozzles is at higher pressure than the atmosphere, and the gas is illuminated by sunlight.
Other space watchers have said the spiral shapes occur when the rocket vents unneeded fuel.
Whatever causes the spiral, it is quite a beautiful sight and I hope I get to see one with my own eyes one day. But for now, I will just be watching the amazing videos captured.