On January 28, a camera located on the top of a mountain in Hawaii captured a series of green laser beams crossing the sky.
The footage, recorded just after 2:00 a.m. local time and lasting only a few seconds, showed the beams moving from left to right.
It was thought that the Green laser were from a NASA
The camera, part of the Subaru Telescope, is a joint project between the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). Initially, it was thought that the lights were from a NASA mapping satellite, but NASA has denied this, leading to speculation that they may have come from China.
The footage was posted on YouTube on January 29 and suggested that the beams could have been from a remote-sensing laser altimeter from NASA’s ICESat-2/43613 satellite.
However, on February 6, the NAOJ updated the video’s description with a new explanation. Citing Anthony Martino, a deputy project scientist working on the ICESat-2 mission, the NAOJ said the lights were not from their instrument, but from another source.
After a simulation of the trajectory of satellites with similar instruments, Dr. Alvaro Ivanoff and his colleagues identified the most likely source as the ACDL instrument by the Chinese Daqi-1/AEMS satellite.
The NAOJ expressed appreciation for the efforts in identifying the source of the light.
Orbital Focus, a satellite orbit monitoring service, has stated that the Daqi-1 satellite was probably responsible for the green laser beams seen over Hawaii at 2:00 a.m. local time on January 28. The satellite was believed to be passing overhead at the time and had a north to south trajectory that matched the left-right motion captured in the video.
The sighting of the green lasers has heightened concerns of Chinese espionage in the United States, particularly after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted in U.S. airspace. Despite these fears, defense officials allowed the balloon to travel through Canada and the continental United States, before it was ultimately shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4 on the orders of President Biden.
China has maintained that the balloon was a civilian weather balloon that had gone off course, and has expressed outrage over its destruction.
Note: This happened on the same day as a suspected Chinese spy balloon was detected by the U.S. off the coast of Alaska.
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