“Is it a fireball?” “Is it a space jellyfish?” Nope, it is a SpaceX rocket.
Some observers alongside the U.S. East Coast noticed a wierd sight at the hours of darkness, early morning sky on Sunday (March 14): a vibrant object streaking throughout the sky, leaving a ballooning, illuminated path behind it. The pre-dawn sky made this spectacle much more placing and the American Meteor Society (AMS) received about 120 reports about “an observed object in the sky,” the AMS tweeted. However, the sighting was truly of a SpaceX rocket, not a fireball, the AMS confirmed.
At 6:01 a.m. EDT (1101 GMT) Sunday morning, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying a recent batch of 60 Starlink web satellites into low Earth orbit. People all alongside the East Coast, from Florida as much as Maine, noticed the rocket’s sensible streak throughout the sky.
Skywatchers despatched the AMS photographs of the “fireball,” exhibiting the placing picture of the rocket midflight. Florida launches like this one are sometimes seen alongside the East Coast. But this time, as a result of the launch occurred within the predawn hours, the solar illuminated the rocket’s plume and created a singular atmospheric impact that solely occurs at daybreak and nightfall, the place the sunshine appears to be like like a “space jellyfish” within the sky.
This sighting is not the primary time that skywatchers have mistaken a rocket launch for one thing stranger within the sky. SpaceX launches have sparked claims of UFOs, as they generally create strange, squiggly “clouds” within the sky.
As throughout SpaceX’s different Falcon 9 launches, the reusable rocket’s first stage fell again to Earth shortly after launch; it landed on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You,” which was posted within the Atlantic Ocean, the ninth time for this booster.
SpaceX is working to launch the large constellation of Starlink web satellites to create international web protection and supply web connectivity for these in rural or distant areas that in any other case do not have entry.
Email Chelsea Gohd at [email protected] or comply with her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.