A MYSTERIOUS blue swirl has been spotted by observers in Alaska in the night sky this past weekend.
Stargazers in Alaska were mystified after seeing a spooky galaxy-like spiral in the sky this past Saturday,
The pale blue swirl was situated amid auroras, or electrically charged particles from the sun smashing into our planet's atmosphere.
Despite its mysterious and alienesque appearance, though, the spiral had a very normal explanation.
It was just residual fuel that had been released from Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket, which launched from California three hours before the spiral appeared.
Sometimes rockets have fuel that needs to be ejected, space physicist Don Hampton, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute told the Associated Press.
"When they do that at high altitudes, that fuel turns into ice," Hampton said.
"And if it happens to be in the sunlight when you’re in the darkness on the ground, you can see it as a sort of big cloud, and sometimes it’s swirly," he added.
Still, it's not a common sight, Hampton said, noting that he has only seen such an occurrence around three times.
Because of this, images and videos of the spiral quickly went viral on the internet.
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"It created a bit of an Internet storm with that spiral," Hampton said.
SpaceX's rocket took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California Friday night with a 25-satellite payload.
And because it was a "polar launch", the rocketship's journey was visible over a large part of Alaska, so "we got that really cool-looking spiral thing," Hampton chimed in.
"I can tell you it's not a galaxy," he reassured skeptics. "It's just water vapor reflecting sunlight."
In January, another spiral was captured over Hawaii’s Big Island by a camera at the summit of Mauna Kea.
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