After an eerie series of green beams descended from the sky over the Hawaiian Islands a month ago, astronomers who researched the vivid green wall are now claiming that the lasers originated from a Chinese satellite.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) brought attention to this strange situation in a tweet posted from their official account on January 30. The tweet stated that the “Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured green laser lights in the cloudy sky over Maunakea, Hawai’i.” Their first guess was that it was coming from a known “remote-sensing altimeter satellite ICESAT,” but after further research they’re now arriving at a different conclusion.
On Jan 28, 2023, HST, Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured green laser lights in the cloudy sky over Maunakea, Hawai`i. The lights are thought to be from a remote-sensing altimeter satellite ICESAT-2/43613.
Watch the video:https://t.co/xqoJvSa24s#SubaruTelescope pic.twitter.com/5hhIsewuNp
— Subaru Telescope Eng (@SubaruTel_Eng) January 31, 2023
On February 6, scientists from NASA corrected the station’s initial theory and are now claiming that it was a Chinese satellite responsible for the green lasers that were observed.
The scientists “did a simulation of the trajectory of satellites that have a similar instrument and found a most likely candidate as the ACDL instrument by the Chinese Daqi-1/AEMS satellite.”
“We really appreciate their efforts in the identification of the light,” stated the NAOJ. “We are sorry about our confusion related to this event and its potential impact on the ICESat-2 team.”
WATCH 🚨 Suspected Chinese satellite reportedly shoots wall of mysterious green lasers down to earth, spotted over Hawaii pic.twitter.com/k8ORTVsWgZ
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 9, 2023
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So What Were the Beams?
According to astronomer Roy Gal during an interview with KHON2, the large green beams that emitted from the satellite are intended to measure pollutants.
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“It has many different instruments on it,” said Gal. “Some kind of topographical mapping or they’re also used for measuring stuff in Earth’s atmosphere, and I think that’s what it is, environmental measurement satellite.”
While the activity of the Chinese satellite could be benign in nature, the timing comes at a point of heightened tensions between the United States and China. Despite that though, Gal, who is a full-time researcher for the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy, doesn’t believe the activity witnessed posses any threat.
“No, it’s not a risk to Hawaii or anyplace else, too. We have aircraft making these measurements all the time,” said Gal. “If you’ve seen topographical maps with high precision, those are made using sometimes this kind of thing.”
However, not everyone is on board with Gal that this isn’t suspicious activity by the Chinese at all.
According to former chief of staff of Marine Forces Pacific, Ray L’Heureux, he is concerned why the Chinese, “who are probably some of the most prolific polluters on the planet — would be collecting data on pollutants on this side of the Pacific.”
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