Time-lapse video: What could be the identity of this trailing light in the sky above Yellowknife, northern Canada? A passing airplane, high altitude clouds, and rays of aurora are also captured in the sky. The mystery light appeared in the sky between 01:31 and 1:45 local summer time (GMT -6 hours) of Sep. 23, 2011. See this still image of the scene with more details.



comments (6)

  • Herbert Raab Reply

    What a unusual, spectacular sight!
    I’d guess that this is water (or fuel, or some other substance) dumped from a satellite in orbit.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm
  • Dave Syzdek Reply

    Agreed. Maybe a booster rocket venting fuel.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:22 am
  • Bernie Venasse Reply

    looks like an odd fold in the aurora.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:01 am
  • Jerry Reply

    This is a very interesting time lapse. Good capture.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:52 am
  • Mack Frost Reply

    The images are consistent with observations I have made of the Space Shuttle venting gases, fuel or water prior to re-entry. Given the date, location and the position of the stars in the image, the object appears to be heading in a near northerly direction. That suggests it’s a satellite in a sun-synchronous polar orbit. I can’t imagine what kind of object would be dumping fuel or water in such an orbit. The only ones I’ve ever seen or heard about doing such things are manned missions. Neither the US or Russia ever launched a manned polar orbit mission.

    February 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm
  • Scott H Reply

    The video appears to have the look of a blue jet [see Wikipedia about ‘blue jets’]. In slow motion a glow discharge/plasma appears to precede the main jet. This make sense if the break down of upper atmospheric gases follows the earths magnetic field thus creating a path directing the pulses motion. It would be great if someone got spectra of the event which would give the ionization states and energy levels and therefore the temperature, pressure, and density of the gases involved in the event which could be used to identify the altitude of the event. Spectra would determine if the gases were of human origin.

    March 11, 2013 at 8:02 am

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