Red balls in the night sky are SpaceX’s aurora borealis

Red balls in the night sky are SpaceX’s aurora borealis

The night sky is filled with red spheres, flashes visible to the naked eye that have no natural origin: they have been called “SpaceX’s afterglow” because they result from the temporary interaction of the exhaust gases of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets, Elon Musk, with the outer layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere. More and more are being noticed, from 2 to 5 per month. One of the most recent such images, posted on, was taken on November 3 by Stephen Hamel, of the McDonald Observatory in Texas, a few hours after the Falcon 9 launch. The frequency has increased dramatically as the number of space launches using SpaceX has increased, and from It is clear that this is due to the interaction of gases released by rockets that cross the ionosphere, that part of the atmosphere composed of ionized gases, which leads to “ignition.” Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, scientific director of the virtual telescope project, told ANSA: “A reddish glow.” At a specific wavelength, 630 nanometers.” According to experts, this phenomenon is due to the return of the second stage of the missile, when it is at a very high altitude, about 300 kilometers, where it turns on the engines for a few seconds to return to the Earth and burn up in the atmosphere. . The result is a red glow, more or less visible to the naked eye, which can cause communications interference and problems in astronomical observations. “It’s a temporary effect, a disturbance a bit like the jets of an airplane,” said astronomer Piero Benvenuti of the University of Padua. He added: “These auroras do not have permanent effects on the ionosphere, let alone pose a danger. Indeed, pollutants left by debris or burning satellites in the atmosphere in the upper layers are even more worrisome.”

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