SpaceX may have bathed the galaxy in an eerie shade of red as of Sunday morning, a sight all the stranger for being invisible to the naked eye.
According to the Washington Post that photographers in Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee and North Carolina attempting to take pictures of the Milky Way saw their images bombarded by a swelling red streak like a cloud of gas. It’s possible that a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Florida created the strange glowing cloud.
“At first I thought maybe a thin cloud, but that’s not the case,” said the Maryland photographer post. “After researching, I came across an article stating that the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch started at 12:27 AM.”
said physicist Carlos Martinis of Boston University post Reporters that the rocket’s exhaust may have interacted with positive oxygen ions in the atmosphere anywhere from 68 to 310 miles to create the red glow. The plume can diffuse through the upper atmosphere and create a spreading red cloud.
However, Tamitha Skov, a space weather expert, interviewed the postsuggested that what photographers may have actually captured was a faint, “sub-visual” aurora, noting that active solar wind radiation was hitting Earth’s magnetic field at the time of the photographers’ sightings.
“A student of mine saw the launch of the SpaceX rocket at a similar time, and even on camera, flare from the rocket exhaust remained a localized white cloud,” she said post“So I really don’t think the phenomenon above is a result of the SpaceX launch, just another dazzling reminder of how far south auroras really do occur if we’re willing to do whatever it takes to look for them!”