Friday, October 7, 2022

Chinese rocket photobombs aurora with spinning orb of light

An image of the spinning orb of blue light moving across an aurora-filled sky in Alaska. (Image credit: The Aurora Chasers/Ronn Murray/Marketa Murray)

Scientists have solved the mystery of a spinning orb of bluish light that slowly streaked across the sky above Alaska last month, stealing the show from the famous northern lights: The unusual ball was most likely debris from a Chinese rocket passing overhead.

Eyewitnesses across the state spotted the strange phenomenon March 29 at around 5 am local time. “It seemed like it had something that was spinning inside it,” Leslie Smallwood, a Fairbanks resident who witnessed the event, told local news station KUAC (opens in new tab). The orb appeared much larger than a full moon and moved from the northeast to the southwest, he added.

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