The Mysterious Spiral in the Alaska Sky: A Rare Atmospheric Phenomenon Caused by SpaceX Rocket Emissions

Alaska is known for its natural phenomena, including the Northern Lights, fogbows, and moonbows. However, on April 15th, a strange and mysterious spiral appeared in the sky over the state, leaving sky watchers and aurora hunters in awe. The spiral, which was accompanied by the Northern Lights, was spotted in the sky above Alaska, leaving people wondering about the celestial pattern. It was described as a whitish-blue spiral that moved quickly and amazed those who saw it. The spiral was filmed by cameras at the University of Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range near Fairbanks.[0]

The mysterious spiral was caused by the emissions generated by the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket, which had launched three hours earlier with the Transporter-7 mission into a polar orbit from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base. Water vapor in the exhaust from the second stage engine froze and caught high-altitude sunlight, creating a spiral galaxy of light.[1] The spiral resembled a piece of art in the sky and was described as the most bizarre thing that some had ever seen.[2]

Professional aurora hunter Todd Salat caught the mysterious spiral in a stunning series of pictures. Salat captured a 30-second time-lapse that showed the spiral growing and stretching over Donnelly Dome near Delta Junction, Alaska, on April 15th against the Northern Lights.[3] Salat had been photographing auroras when he saw the bright light coming towards him from the northern horizon, which quickly developed into a spiral shape.

Don Hampton, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, confirmed that the spiral was caused by rocket engine exhaust from the SpaceX Transporter-7 mission. The payload was 51 satellites, and the rocket was still gaining altitude when it passed over Alaska, stunning many night-watchers.[4]

While the spiral was a rare and unusual sight, it is not the first time that such a phenomenon has taken place.[5] Chinese and Russian rockets have also caused similar atmospheric spirals.[5] These spirals have led some astronomers to refer to the phenomenon by the distinctive, albeit inaccurate, name of “SpaceX spirals.”[6]

In conclusion, the mysterious spiral in the Alaska sky on April 15th was a beautiful and rare event caused by emissions generated by the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. While it left many night-watchers bewildered, it was a natural and atmospheric phenomenon that added to the already spectacular Northern Lights display.[7]

0. “Ethereal whirlpool of light grows into a giant, perfect spiral above Alaska. What was it?”, 18 Apr. 2023,

1. “Giant Spiral Appears Amid the Aurora Lights in Alaska's Night Sky” PetaPixel, 17 Apr. 2023,

2. “Photographer Captures Jaw-Dropping Mysterious Spiral Over the Aurora with a Simple Explanation–(LOOK)” Good News Network, 20 Apr. 2023,

3. “A mysterious spiral spotted in the sky over Alaska left an aurora hunter in awe” Yahoo Entertainment, 22 Apr. 2023,

4. “Spiral in the sky amazes Alaskans” Alaska's News Source, 15 Apr. 2023,

5. “What SpaceX Has to Do With Mysterious Spirals in the Northern Lights” InsideHook, 19 Apr. 2023,

6. “Aurora Hunter Todd Salat Captures a Bizarre Spiral Made by a SpaceX Fuel Dump” Universe Today, 20 Apr. 2023,

7. “Weather Wise: So “sky spirals” are a thing now” KTVH, 17 Apr. 2023,

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