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SpaceX rocket makes very cool blue spiral above New Zealand

A New Zealand resident spotted a “bizarre but very cool” blue spiral above her house following a SpaceX launch on Sunday (June 19).

Clare Rehill photographed the spiral in the sky above Queenstown, a town on New Zealand’s South Island. She posted(opens in new tab) the photo on Twitter⁠ early in the morning her time on Monday (June 20), speculating that “it’s got something to do with SpaceX.”

Her instincts were good. The sky show came courtesy of a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday, carrying a communications satellite for the Louisiana-based company Globalstar to orbit.




The spiral was generated by the Falcon 9’s upper stage venting leftover fuel as it fell naturally into the Pacific Ocean. (Unlike the Falcon 9 first stage, which lands after launch for refurbishment and reflight, the rocket’s upper stage is expendable.)