“space jellyfish” that lit up the US sky

A strange "space jellyfish" lit up the sky of Florida, in the United States, and caused a great impact among those who spotted it.

The object glowed in the dark sky and hovered over the city, with what looks like an expanding head and tail. Many began to comment on the event on social networks, worried about what they were seeing. Along these lines, Twitter users shared images and videos of the phenomenon.

Despite the astonishment, there is a rational explanation for what happened. The effect was caused by the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center. The professor of aerodynamics and mechanical engineering of the University of Texas, Chris Combs, provided more details on the matter.

He cataloged it as a space jellyfish because of its particular shape. In addition, he indicated that it is not so common for this type of phenomenon to occur every time a projectile of this style is ejected from Earth. Its appearance is due to a combination of physics and optimal environmental conditions.

Thus, "the jellyfish" corresponds simply to the exhaust that comes out of the nozzle of the rocket motor. This is a bell-shaped structure, which is visible at the end of the spacecraft and has the function of getting the propulsive force for the launch.

Combs argued that the exhaust at the nozzle has a higher pressure than atmospheric pressure, therefore it is "under-expanded." As the exhaust exits the rocket it automatically expands to lower its own pressure to equal atmospheric pressure. Then, an expansion "fan" effect is produced, which promotes the unique expulsion that is displayed in the video.

In this way, the space jellyfish shape simply corresponds to the exhaust that comes out of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket motor pipe. Without the inertia of this part of the space vehicle, it could not get the propulsive force for launch.

In addition, the observation of this effect with that characteristic brightness occurred due to the launch time of the rocket, which was a little before dawn that day, which implied that the Sun will be above the horizon and will illuminate the column of air that came out of the nozzle, as described by Combs.

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