Experts say green laser beams spotted off Hawaii came from Chinese satellite
Experts believe that a Chinese satellite fired down green laser beams that were spotted over Hawaii last month, amid growing tensions between the US and China after several foreign objects — including a Chinese spy balloon — have breached US airspace.
Scientists at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) tweeted that the space agency’s Subaru-Asahi Star Camera on Mauna Kea “captured green laser lights in the cloudy sky over Maunakea, Hawai’i” on Jan. 28.
“The lights are thought to be from a remote-sensing altimeter satellite ICESAT-2/43613” — a NASA craft, the agency said.
Video of the strange phenomenon released by NAOJ shows numerous mysterious green beams eerily shooting successively across the night sky.
One week later on Feb. 6, NOAJ issued a correction on their video stating that the “most likely candidate” was the Chinese Daqi-1/AEMS satellite after the ICESat-2 team ran a simulation of satellite trajectories.
We really appreciate their efforts in the identification of the light,” NAOJ wrote. “We are sorry about our confusion related to this event and its potential impact on the ICESat-2 team.”
NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) launched in 2018 and shoots thousandslasers down at the Earth to measure the planet’s surface, according to CNET.
The satellite’s laser pulses are also bright green, which was why scientists likely initially determined that the lights stemmed from the craft. However the Chinese satellite has similar laser technology and its trajectory matched to wear the lasers were spotted, the news outlet reported.
The strange light show comes as the United remains on edge following several unnerving sightings that have been reported over US and Canada.
The US shot down a massive Chinese surveillance balloon on Feb. 4 off of the coast of South Carolina after it flew across the entire North American continent — including over sensitive military areas.
On Friday, The US shot down another high-altitude “object” flying at 40,000 feet over the frozen waters off Alaska.
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the US has not yet determined the object’s “capabilities, purpose or origin.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the object was about the size of a car — much smaller than the balloon shot down last week, which was the size of three buses.
On Saturday, a US military jet shot down an unidentified airborne object over Canada’s Yukon Territory after it violated Canadian airspace, Canadian and US officials confirmed.
“Canadian and US aircraft were scrambled, and a US F-22 successfully fired at the object,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.
No additional information about the nature of the object or where the wreckage landed has been released.
It’s not clear if Friday and Saturday’s airborne objects were from China, officials said.