Chinese rocket photobombs aurora with spinning orb

An image of the spinning orb of blue light moving across an aurora-filled Alaskan sky. Credit: The Aurora Chasers/Ronn Murray/Marketa Murray

Scientists have solved the mystery of a spinning orb of bluish light that slowly flashed across the sky over Alaska last month, stealing the show from the famous Northern Lights: The unusual ball was most likely debris from a Chinese rocket that flew overhead.

Eyewitnesses across the state spotted the strange phenomenon around 5 a.m. local time on March 29. “It seemed like something was spinning around in it,” Leslie Smallwood, a Fairbanks resident who witnessed the event, told the local news station KUAC (opens in new tab)† The sphere seemed much larger than a full Moon and moved from the northeast to the southwest, he added.

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