SpaceX rocket launch spawns spectacular 'jellyfish' in the sky (video, photos)

One of SpaceX's recent Falcon 9 missions delivered a treat for skywatchers when the launch created a jaw-dropping "jellyfish" in the sky.

The Falcon 9 rocket launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Oct. 8, carrying Intelsat's Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 satellites to orbit. The launch took place soon after sunset, meaning the sun illuminated the crystalized exhaust plume from the launch, resulting in spectacular imagery in the early night sky.

A great view of the jellyfish was captured by SpaceX's A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship, which also received the Falcon 9's returning first stage, which landed about 8.5 minutes after launch.

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The launch was the record-tying 14th for this particular Falcon 9 first stage, but the views of the glowing twilight halo don't get old.

The event was also captured by observers thankfully more distant from the launch and landing, including some who caught the sunlit plumes but without the full jellyfish phenomena.

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A Falcon 9 could be in action again at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as soon as Friday night (Oct. 14), but the timing of that coming launch won't be conducive to more sky jellyfish.

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.