Alaska sky spiral dazzles after SpaceX rocket jettisoned fuel

“Believe me, at first, I was completely overwhelmed,” he said. “I know now that it can be explained with rocket science, but I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery of the unknown during and after the experience.”

The night sky spirals over Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest mountain.

The night sky spirals over Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain.Credit: Associated Press

The rocket lifted off Friday evening from Space Force Base Vandenberg, California, with a payload of about 25 satellites.

The timing of the fuel dump and the fact that it was a polar launch made the blue spiral visible over a large swath of Alaska. “We got that spiral thing that looks really cool,” Salat points out.

In January, there was another spiral, this time over the Big Island of Hawaii. A camera atop Mauna Kea outside Japan’s Subaru Telescope National Astronomical Observatory captured the swirling spiral in the night sky.

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