SPACE JELLYFISHFrom as we speak’s SpaceX launch. Beautiful pic.twitter.com/98mzIGHDOmMay 6, 2022
In the wee morning hours of Thursday(May 5), a digital camera in Waycross, Georgia witnessed a mysterious object streaking by way of the sky. Bright, quick and trailed by a glowing rectangular aura, the article seemed a bit like an area jellyfish, as Chris Combs, a professor of aerodynamics and mechanical engineering on the University of Texas at San Antonio put it on twitter.
Of course, as Combs identified, this area jelly was no UFO – it was a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, roughly 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of the digital camera. Dozens of rockets go away the launchpad at Kennedy yearly, however few of them may rightly be mistaken for a bioluminescent invertebrate within the sky. So, what occurred right here?
According to Combs, it is a mixture of physics and excellent timing.
For starters, the lengthy, blobby “body” of the jellyfish is just exhaust leaving the Falcon 9’s rocket engine nozzle, Combs wrote. The motive the exhaust takes on such a bulbous form has to do with the strain distinction inside and out of doors the nozzle. In this case, the exhaust leaving the nozzle is “under-expanded” – which means the fuel is at increased strain than the ambient air round it because the exhaust leaves the engine’s nozzle.
To match the ambient background strain within the ambiance, the rocket exhaust drops its personal strain by increasing as quickly because it leaves the nozzle, in keeping with Combs.
“In under-expanded exhaust you get expansion fans at the nozzle exit to decrease pressure and match background: jellyfish, at high altitude,” Combs tweeted.
That explains the blob. But what in regards to the glow?
This is way less complicated to sq., Combs mentioned – and it simply comes right down to timing. Because the rocket launch occurred within the pre-dawn hours of Thursday morning (round 5:45 a.m. native time), mild from the solar got here from simply over the horizon, illuminating up the exhaust plume, inflicting it to glow brightly in opposition to the darkish sky.
Physics plus excellent timing equals area jellyfish. A easy equation for a high-altitude spectacle.
Of course, if you would like to see a actual area jellyfish, you may must look only a bit additional into area – about 300 million light-years additional to be actual. That’s how far-off the galaxy cluster Abell 2877 is; when astronomers just lately seemed on the object with a radio telescope, they noticed the ghostly define of a jellyfish swimming by way of distant area. That huge jelly within the sky can also be the results of a big fuel explosion – on this case, an enormous eruption from a gaggle of historical black holes, Live Science beforehand reported.
Originally revealed on Live Science.