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A number of 'absolutely bizarre' blue swirls filled up the sky in New Zealand over the weekend, and have been baffling the locals ever since.
'Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's...mysterious blue swirls...'
Well, the rather spectacular, yet random, sight took place on Sunday, 19 June, up in the sky over Nelson and travelled 750km south to Stewart Island by 7.30pm.
What genuinely looked like something from a Star Trek film was actually believed to be something caused by a man's space junk, which is basically a dying rocket.
It turns out that the rocket belonged to Elon Musk's SpaceX company after they launched their third rocket flight in 36 hours – a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Globalstar DM15 satellites, MailOnline reports.
The company tweeted: "SpaceX hauled a Globalstar communications satellite into orbit early Sunday from Cape Canaveral, pulling off the third Falcon 9 rocket flight in 36 hours, the fastest sequence of three missions by any commercial launch company in history."
SpaceX hauled a Globalstar communications satellite into orbit early Sunday from Cape Canaveral, pulling off the third Falcon 9 rocket flight in 36 hours, the fastest sequence of three missions by any commercial launch company in history.— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) June 19, 2022
📷: @mdcainjr https://t.co/0Y5ArwZPuf pic.twitter.com/mmPSRx0pue
The illusion happens when the rocket releases its fuel, the swirls we see up in the sky are actually caused by vapour trails reflected by the sun, which gives the blue swirl effect.
The New Plymouth Astronomical Society said a fuel dump was the most likely cause.
"The spiral that was seen in the sky tonight around 7:30pm was most likely a fuel dump or exhaust plume from a SpaceX rocket launch," the Facebook post read.
"Similar effects have been seen before, and SpaceX's Globalstar 2 FM15 was likely to have passed New Zealand around that time."
Spectator Alasdair Burns reckons that the spiral was by far the strangest thing he had ever seen.
"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," Burns told Stuff.
Māpua local Augustine Matthews says she ran outside with her husband to take a look at the big blue spiral.
She said: "It looked like a planet or star. It was just a white dot with a tiny spiral. And within 10 minutes it had traversed half the sky and the spiral had grown three times in size.
"It wasn't blinking or twinkling, and it was moving fairly fast... so fascinating."
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