How the Night Sky Turned Red Because of SpaceX

How the Night Sky Turned Red Because of SpaceX

There are numerous philosophical and scientific questions that people have been asking about the Universe since the dawn of time. Did you ever take a good look at the stars and wondered why the sky is black, for instance? If not, maybe you’ll like the “why is the sky red?” question more. 

SpaceX recently launched a Falcon 9 rocket into space, which left behind a scary shade of red in the night sky. Those who were lucky enough to capture some images didn’t seem to hesitate to post them online.

David Johnston, a photographer, spoke about the phenomenon in a Facebook post while revealing relevant images by himself:

I was shooting the Milky Way behind some silhouetted rocks when suddenly one of my images had this prominent red blob right in front of the core, that had not been there in the previous image 3 minutes before.

However, the phenomenon has a very scientific explanation that’s not hard to understand. Jeff Baumgardner, who’s a physicist from the Boston University, explained for

This glow is probably the exhaust gasses from the rocket’s second stage, causing the ionosphere to recombine quickly,

This is a well-studied phenomenon when rocket engines are firing in the altitude 200-250 km (124-155 miles).

Otherwise, SpaceX is also busy with its Starlink satellites that have to provide broadband internet access to areas of the globe that are still offline. For instance, a significant milestone was reached back in May, when 400,000 subscribers were achieved for the service. Or at least that’s what the CEO, Mr. Elon Musk, claims.

There are still some voices claiming that too many Starlink satellites sent to the Earth’s orbit will lead to too many of these gadgets that will eventually block astronomers’ view of the Cosmos. However, SpaceX denies that possibility and is confident that the satellites can only be useful.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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