At 18:00 on Friday 18 June one mysterious spiral appeared in the skies of New Caledonia and of Republic of Vanuatu, in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean. The spectacular phenomenon was immortalized with photographs and videos by several amazed observers, completely unaware of the origin of the great spiral. Many immediately thought of UFO, or rather, to the STEAM (Unidentified Airborne Phenomena), as experts prefer to call them today, also because recently there has been a real boom in the diffusion of “confidential” material by the US Navy. In this case, however, alien or enemy spy drones have nothing to do with it.
Among the first to understand what it could be were the members of theCaledonian Astronomical Association (ACA), who published several posts on Facebook following the curious sighting. “Several witnesses in Yaté, Thio, La Tontouta and Vanuatu have seen this strange phenomenon. We have no explanations, but we are far from being specialists in this kind of phenomena. Based on our initial research, the only similar but even more dramatic phenomenon is the Norwegian Spiral in 2009, ”the ACA wrote on the social network’s bulletin board. The reference is to an event that was visible for about ten minutes in all the skies of northern Norway. As indicated by New Scientist, in that case the person responsible for the spiral (much larger and with more turns than the Pacific one) was a Russian ICBM called Bulava: due to a breakdown, the missile began to spin around on itself, giving rise to the spiral of fuel and flames that left thousands of Norwegians speechless.
In the Pacific Ocean there was an episode at least in part comparable. To explain to the ACA what happened to the American astronomer Jonathan McDowell Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, one of the world’s leading experts on space debris. The scientist, analyzing the lists of all planned space launches, accurately determined that the spiral was generated by the second stage of a Chinese rocket “Long March 2C”, Launched on June 18 at 06:25 UTC from the center of Xichang to“ release ”four satellites into Earth’s orbit. In this case the jet that gave life to the spiral was not caused by damage, but by a deliberate depressurization maneuver to empty the tanks of residual fuel, that is asymmetric dimethylhydrazine O UDMH e nitrogen peroxide, as explained by Dr. McDowell, who has also closely followed the whole story of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket, which crashed uncontrolled to Earth in recent weeks.
Free the tanks from fuel is a useful maneuver to prevent the rocket stage from exploding into the sky, causing debris to spread over a much larger area and increasing the risk of accidents. The American scientist confirmed that a similar spiral had also been observed in May – again due to a Long March 2C rocket – while another will be visible in July, when another launch by the China (the exact date was not communicated). In short, no aliens or UAPs, but a spectacular phenomenon due to space debris, which however always have a cost in terms of environmental impact.