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31 Jan, 2023
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line of lights in the sky

What Could Be The Reason Behind The ‘Strange Event’ In The Sky?

An unusual, coiling plume of gas and line of lights in the sky at the night from Nelson to Stewart Island has left sky watchers wondering, but according to the experts, it has a very simple explanation.

The residents of South Island took to social media and tip lines on Sunday night to report seeing the eye-catching phenomenon, in large numbers.

Alasdair Burns, 34, was among them who runs a star-gazing business on Stewart Island. He said row of lights in the sky was by far the strangest thing he’d seen in the night sky.

“It was absolutely bizarre. It was like a massive spiral. And it very, very slowly, serenely moving north across the night sky and then just sort of dissipating as it went,” he said.

A physics professor at the University of Auckland, Richard Easther said spiral was the illustrated plume of a rocket.

“They are ‘clouds’ created by the exhaust plumes of the rocket, which would have been illuminated by the sun,” he said. “It’s similar to the effect you sometimes see at sunset when the setting sun lights up the underside of high clouds.” he added.

The moving stars in the sky was seen and immediately posted on star-gazing social media groups. A woman named Māpua local Augustine Matthews also ran onto the deck to watch it with her husband.

“It looked like a planet or star. It was just a white dot with a tiny spiral. And within 10 minutes it had traversed half the sky and the spiral had grown three times in size,” she said.

It was really beautiful to watch it move across the sky said Matthews.

“It wasn’t blinking or twinkling, and it was moving fairly fast… so fascinating,” she said.

The rocket could have been  Space X’s Global Star Mission, passed over New Zealand launched earlier, according to Easther. He also said the rocket’s flight path would be needed so that it can be compared to confirm.

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