Spiral UFOs spotted over Australia

Remember those crazy spiral UFOs spotted over Norway last year? Now there's video of another one, this time over Australia. And the explanation for both phenomena is likely the same.


Just as the spiral light in Norway was probably a rocket spiraling in the atmosphere, so too are these spiral lights caused by a rocket.

According to Phil Plait, writing on the Bad Astronomy blog:

[It was] the SpaceX Falcon 9! The private company successfully held its first test launch of the big rocket, blasting off from its Florida pad at 18:45 UT Friday - which is 04:45 Sydney, Australia time.

Here's the Falcon 9 ground track - the path of the rocket over the Earth's surface - provided by jetforme (based on orbital parameters):

Illustration for article titled Spiral UFOs spotted over Australia

Note how the path goes right over eastern Australia! The timing is perfect, too: about an hour later, the second stage would've been halfway around the world, matching the position and time of the UFO sightings.

The spiral pattern seen in Norway is known to be from gas leaking out of the booster. As the booster spins and the gas shoots out, it makes a water-sprinkler spiral pattern in the sky. As it happens, the second stage of the Falcon 9 was rotating; this was not supposed to happen and the SpaceX engineers are looking into it (it didn't affect the launch adversely; the payload achieved orbit).

So the timing was right, the booster was spinning, and we know that spirals like this are an outcome of rocket launches.

This may be the coolest UFO we've ever seen - even if its more like an IFO.


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