SpaceX may have turned the galaxy red

SpaceX may have turned the galaxy an eerie shade of red Sunday morning, a sight made all the weirder in that it was invisible to the naked eyed.

According to reporting by the Washington Post that photographers in Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee and North Carolina attempt to get shots of the Milky Way saw their images photobombed by a swelling red streak, like a cloud of gas. It’s possible a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Florida may have generated the strange glowing cloud.

“At first I thought maybe a thin cloud but not the case,” Maryland photographer told the Post. “After research I came across a article that said spaceX launch Falcon 9 was launched at 12:27 a.m.”

Boston University physicist Carlos Martinis told Post reporters that the rocket’s exhaust could have interacted with positive oxygen ions present in the atmosphere at 68 to 310 miles altitude to generate the red glow. The plume of exhaust can diffuse through the upper atmosphere, creating a spreading cloud of red.

However, Tamitha Skov, a space weather expert interviewed by the Post, suggested that what photographers might actually have captured was a faint, “sub-visual” aurora borealis, noting there was active solar wind radiation hitting Earth’s magnetic field at the time of the photographers sightings.

“A student of mine saw the SpaceX rocket launch at a similar time and even in the camera, the scattered light from the rocket exhaust remained a localized white plume,” she told the Post, “so I really do not think the above phenomenon is a result of the SpaceX launch, but simply another dazzling reminder of how far south aurora really does occur, if we are willing to do what it takes to look for it!”


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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