Scientists have solved the mystery of a flash of red light that slowly flew through the sky over Alaska last month, stealing evidence from the famous northern lights: The bulb Itʻs different from rubbish from a Chinese rock that floats on it.
Eyewitnesses in the state saw a different look on March 29 at around 5 am local time. “It looks like something’s spinning in,” Leslie Smallwood, a Fairbanks resident who witnessed the incident, told the local news agency. KUAC (opens on new page). The orb is larger than full month and move from northeast to southwest, he said.
An auto -shooting trap that captures images of the orb streaking in front of it right light (called the aurora borealis). The camera trap, used by And Aurora Chasers (opens on new page) Ronn Murray and Marketa Murray, a husband and wife duo in Fairbanks who run north -facing photo booths, take regular photos of the sky every 45 seconds so people can see the right light near real time. The orb took six pictures of the orb, showing that it had been visible for at least four and a half minutes.
“It’s not like shooting in the air,” Smallwood told KUAC. “It’s like taking his time.”
The orb comes and goes without explanation. However, after looking at the pictures, the scientists decided that the big blue ball might be the result of a Chinese photo booth.
“I’m very confident in what people have seen of the dumping of firewood from a Chinese rock,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts, told KUAC. The orb was in contact with the flight path of a Chinese rocket launching two satellites into orbit, he added. The rocket is a March 6 long -range missile launched from Taiwan, according to a tweet (opens on new page) and McDowell.
The rocket may have released residual firewood into the air, where the firewood dried and spread into a large ball illuminated by the sun, McDowell told KUAC. “The world is probably hundreds of miles away; that’s why it’s so visible,” he said.
Other scientists agreed with McDowell’s explanation. “It’s a bright cloud of illuminated gas like that,” Mark Conde, a physicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, told KUAC.
The orb seems to be spinning because, when the bullets throw their wood, they enter a control drop to keep the rocket in orbit. The rocket will overturn “in the end when it releases this fuel like a garden hose,” McDowell said.
This is not the first time this has happened. In October 2017, a larger blue orb was seen in the sky over Siberia, according to Scientific alert (opens on new page). At the time, Russian military rocket tests were laying ice on the area.
Originally published on Live Science.