Is it a bird, is it a plane? Strange lights wow locals
IF YOU saw some strange activity in the sky on the Sunshine Coast last night, don't be alarmed.
An impressive display of lights were captured at Beerwah, leaving residents wondering if it was a meteor shower, or even an angel.
It was actually a fuel dump from the launch of NASA's Parker Solar Probe, which took off on Sunday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
#ParkerSolarProbe lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:31 a.m. EDT aboard a @ulalaunch #DeltaIVHeavy! 🚀 Follow along with the mission here and at https://t.co/KOu1HaS2K3 as we explore the Sun like never before. pic.twitter.com/BSAtpb6QVr— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) August 12, 2018
The Solar Probe will fly as close as 3.8 million miles to the sun - more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before - revolutionising our understanding of the sun's atmosphere.
Earth's average distance to the sun is 93 million miles.
It will face brutal heat and radiation conditions to provide researchers with the closest observations of a star.
The spacecraft was visible over the Sunshine Coast on Sunday night, after Saturday morning's launch attempt was foiled by technical issues.
"Fly baby girl, fly!!" project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University tweeted just before lift-off.
She urged the spacecraft to "go touch the sun!"
#ParkerSolarProbe is on its way to the Sun, where it will come within 4 million miles of the surface. The region it will fly through, the corona, is actually hundreds of times hotter than the surface. That's one mystery we hope to solve with this mission. https://t.co/oeORHuLCtB pic.twitter.com/F3TpLxUICm— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) August 12, 2018
The Parker probe will make 24 close approaches to the sun on the seven-year, $1.5 billion mission.
The spacecraft was named after 91-year-old astrophysicist Eugene Parker, who proposed the existence of solar wind 60 years ago.