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Chinese rocket blasts in the sky photobombing aurora in Alaska


When someone mentions photobombing, I usually think of those annoying friends who ruin every shot. However, some photobombs can actually be pretty cool (I mean, just check this owl and this crow).

But it’s not only animals that make the best photobombs. Aurora Chasers’ Alaska Aurora Cam recently captured a Chinese rocket in the middle of filming aurora borealis. The lucky incident ended in a pretty epic video, with the team also explaining what happened.

Our Aurora webcam (www.AlaskaAuroraCam.com) captured probably the results of a fuel dump from a booster rocket that put a satellite into orbit. They use multi-stage rockets to put a satellite into orbit. They often shut down the upper stage because they have reached the orbit they want. Weeks, maybe months later, when the upper stage booster and satellite are far apart, then vent the fuel, which typically causes an expanding cloud as the rocket fuel oxides with atomic oxygen in the upper atmosphere. Many similar sightings have occurred over the middle of the United States for satellites put into equatorial orbit. Our guess is, we saw the result of putting a polar orbiting satellite up. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston, Massachusetts, says sightings of the orb in Alaska correspond with the flight of a Chinese satellite deployment rocket. “I am very confident that what people saw was the dumping of fuel from a Chinese rocket stage,” he said. “This rocket — the Longmarch 6A or Chang Zheng 6A — was launched early on March 29 from China, placed 2 satellites in orbit and, calculating its orbital path, it passed over the Yukon area about 350 miles up at exactly the time that this glow was seen in the Alaskan sky.” https://www.ktoo.org/2022/04/05/glowing-orb-interior-alaska/

Posted by The Aurora Chasers on Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Aurora webcam captured what probably is the results of a fuel dump from a booster rocket that put a satellite into orbit, as the team explains on their Facebook page. “I am very confident that what people saw was the dumping of fuel from a Chinese rocket stage,” said Jonathan McDowell. he is an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston, Massachusetts.

“This rocket — the Longmarch 6A or Chang Zheng 6A — was launched early on March 29 from China, placed 2 satellites in orbit and, calculating its orbital path, it passed over the Yukon area about 350 miles up at exactly the time that this glow was seen in the Alaskan sky.”

Aurora Chasers further explain how the rocket caused the epic glowing orb in the sky:

“[Booster rockets] use multi-stage rockets to put a satellite into orbit. They often shut down the upper stage because they have reached the orbit they want. Weeks, maybe months later, when the upper stage booster and satellite are far apart, then vent the fuel, which typically causes an expanding cloud as the rocket fuel oxides with atomic oxygen in the upper atmosphere.”

The team further adds that many similar sightings have been seen over the middle of the United States. So, if you see it, it’s not UFO or anything like it. But I do hope you’ll be lucky enough to catch it on camera.

[via Live Science; image credits: The Aurora Chasers (video screenshot)]





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