Dying SpaceX Rocket Caused Illuminated Swirl Over Iceland, Not Alien Invasion!

International Missing Context Space

People are often intrigued by mysterious phenomena, drawn to the enigmatic and unexplained. However, there are instances where events with clear scientific explanations are misconstrued and circulated on social media as mysterious occurrences, perpetuating misunderstanding and misinformation.

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A recent social media post circulating an image of an illuminated swirl over the skies of Iceland has sparked speculation about its origin, with some suggesting it could be related to alien invasion or extraterrestrial activity.

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Users commented on it like below.

We decided to do a fact-check on this.


The illuminated swirl observed in the Arctic skies, particularly over Iceland, was not due to alien activity. Instead, it was caused by the remnants of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, which released a cloud of frozen fuel into space after deploying more than 50 satellites into orbit. This phenomenon, known as a “SpaceX spiral,” occurs when the rocket’s remaining fuel freezes into tiny crystals and reflects sunlight back to Earth, creating a mesmerizing light display.

The swirling light show captured by aurora photographer Shang Yang near the town of Akureyri in Iceland on March 5 was indeed a result of the SpaceX rocket’s manoeuvres. The rocket, launched on March 4 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California as part of the Transport-10 mission, released its payload of satellites into orbit before its second stage de-orbited and burned up in the atmosphere above the Barents Sea in the Arctic. During this process, the remaining fuel was ejected into space and froze into crystals, forming the illuminated swirl observed in the sky. More details about this can be read here

Similar incidents happened before this, too, and the scientific explanation given by an academic from the University of Alaska regarding this phenomenon can be watched below.

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Contrary to claims suggesting alien involvement, the illuminated swirl seen over Iceland was a natural phenomenon caused by the death throes of a SpaceX rocket. This occurrence is not unprecedented and is known as a “SpaceX spiral,” which is expected to become more common with the increasing frequency of Space X satellite launches. Therefore, there is no evidence to support the claim of alien invasion or extraterrestrial activity related to this event.


Title:SpaceX Rocket’s Death Throes Cause Illuminated Swirl Over Iceland, Not Alien Invasion

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Missing Context

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