SpaceX: rocket launch caused strange invisible red glow in the sky

David Johnston and Christopher Hoffman are two photographers who decided to go out at dawn this week to capture images of the sky across the Mid-Atlantic, encountering a particular red glow that automatically alerted them.

After capturing the images, both from different points in the United States, they decided to review the launch dates and discovered that it was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 that occurred at the same time.

“At first I thought maybe a thin cloud, but not the case,” said Christopher Hoffman, who photographed the scene in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, in an email to Washington Post. “After investigation, I came across an article that said that the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch was launched at 12:27 am” (See images here)

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For his part, Johnston described that “I was filming the Milky Way behind some silhouetted rocks when suddenly one of my images had this prominent red spot right in front of the nucleus, which had not been there in the previous image 3 minutes before. I was really upset that it ruined my image, but I thought it would go away.”

Why do these phenomena occur?

In the report presented by the American media, the space physicist, Carlos Martinis, who explained the reasons for the space phenomenon, is consulted.

The scientist noted that the red spot was related to the Falcon 9 second-stage engine burnout, which usually begins about three minutes after liftoff and lasts about six minutes. Second-stage burning typically occurs from 68 to 310 miles high, where positive oxygen ions are present in the atmosphere. These oxygen ions can combine with other environmental molecules to form molecular ions O2+, N2+, and NO+, which react with electrons and produce a red glow. During rocket engine burns, exhaust gases form molecular ions at rates 100 to 1,000 times faster than normal reactions, producing a more pronounced red glow.

This is not the first time this has happened

A few days ago on social networks, from New Zealand, a rare night show was found. It was a slowly moving bluish spiral nebula.

The explanation was the same, it was a trail left by a SpaceX rocket used to launch a satellite into orbit.

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