Residents of the Space Coast were treat early on Friday (May 6) when SpaceX’s latest Starlink satellite launch created a eerie glowing cloud, shining like a medieval fantasy monster in pre-dawn sky.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with 53 of SpaceX’s Starlink Internet satellites successfully lifted off at 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Professional SpaceX photos captured the spectacular pre-dawn launch as it streaked across the Atlantic Ocean, lighting-up the clouds. This is the 12th launch of the first stage of this particular Falcon 9 rocket, marking the company’s reuse record and the first stage to once again landed at sea on top one of the SpaceX drone ships.
Floridians & tourists visiting the coast also spotted the rocket glowing as it passed through the atmosphere. This type of effect is known as a “space jellyfish,” which is produced due to combination of Falcon 9 exhaust and launch timing, as website Live Science points out.
Exhaust gases from the nozzle are “under expanded”, meaning that the gas is at a higher pressure than the surrounding air. The rising sun, very close to the horizon, illuminated the exhaust plume and caused bright light, Chris Combs, a professor of aerodynamics and mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, explained on Twitter.
The pretty physics phenomenon have been shown in videos, photos, and even reflections in a pool’s as local social media users captured their views of sky.