What Created This Beautiful "Sky Jellyfish" in the Upper Atmosphere?

Illustration for article titled What Created This Beautiful Sky Jellyfish in the Upper Atmosphere?

You know it can't be a UFO because this picture is actually in focus and doesn't look like it was taken from the back of a moving truck.

Lauren Hitchings at New Scientist has the answer:

According to Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this is just one of many spectacular formations this kind of rocket can make as the core-stage rocket plume balloons out in the thin air high in the atmosphere. The cross at the top of the formation was made by the Soyuz's four boosters.

"It looks so interesting because we're not used to seeing gas dynamics in a near-vacuum. At that altitude there's not really any weather to interfere with the gases, so the gases form very regular formations and fill up a lot of space," says McDowell.


(h/t Doubtful News)

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That being said...ultra-high altitude "jelyfish-like" creatures have become a thing in the cryptozoology community...and on shows like "Coast to Coast AM"....(I miss Art Bell, he had less lame "psychics" and more cool stuff like this...parallel universes and time travel and crazy conspiracies and shadow people and a world just on the edge of our vision and understanding. All crap, of course. He even had some real scientists on some of the time..)