At 1:52 a.m. on April 15, 2023, photographer Todd Salat captured an image of a spiral formation in the sky as he was photographing the aurora near the Richardson Highway.
Another image around 1:45 a.m. Saturday, April 15, 2023, was taken by Elizabeth Withnall, in Kotzebue, who saw this swirl in the sky while waiting to photograph the northern lights.
The glowing spiral appeared in the sky over Alaska, leading to speculation and questions about its origin.
The spiral was caused by a SpaceX rocket launch from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, which launched a rocket into space to deploy satellites.
The spiral was caused by the exhaust from the rocket, which dispersed in the upper atmosphere to form the glowing spiral.
Similar spirals have been observed in the past from rocket launches, and they have been mistaken for UFOs or other mysterious phenomena.