VIDEO: Chinese satellite fires green laser wall over Hawaii, astronomers say
February 14, 2023 6:18am
Updated: February 14, 2023 11:49am
A Chinese satellite fired a wall of green lasers over the Hawaiian Islands, experts and astronomers claimed on Monday.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s (NAOJ) live stream camera on top of the Subaru-Asahi Star Telescope on Mauna Kea recorded the footage of the green laser beams flashing for a few seconds over Maunakea on January 28 at around 2:00 a.m. local time.
Initially, experts thought the beams belonged to a NASA altimeter satellite. However, NAOJ said that 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.”
“It’s a Chinese satellite that is measuring pollutants, among other things,” said Roy Gal from the University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy. “It has many different instruments on it … 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, an environmental measurement satellite.”
Experts believe that the beams do not belong explicitly to a spy satellite. Instead, the beams seem to be collecting data on pollutants.
“The U.S. has satellites to do the same thing, so, in this case, despite all the flurry, well deserved flurry, about Chinese spy satellites and other devices, this one is just orbiting the earth and has a known orbit,” Gal said.
The news comes as tensions between the U.S. and China have increased after the Pentagon discovered a Chinese spy balloon traveling across the continental United States. The satellite was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by an F-22 fighter jet.