SpaceX's final mission for 2017, the recent Falcon 9 launch, caused quite a stir last week. The rocket was launched into space from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on 22 December and lit up the California sky with a giant, glowing, white-tailed bubble.
The unusual sight left many viewers awestruck and gave rise to widespread speculation about whether the eerie sight was a UFO. It also caused a major hype on social media, with SpaceX founder Elon Musk mockingly tweeting out a short video of the "Nuclear Alien UFO from North Korea".
SpaceX shared some incredible photos of the Falcon 9 launch. The rocket successfully launched 10 Iridium communications satellites into low-Earth orbit. One incredible shot shows the Flacon 9 rocket leave a bright-red brilliant arc over the Californian sky.
A stunning 40-second timelapse video of the launch was also captured by a US-based photographer, Jesse Watson. Writing in a post in Vimeo, Watson said that although he has been following SpaceX launches online for a while, he had "never shot a rocket launch before".
"This particular launch was close to my hometown in Yuma, Arizona, roughly 400 miles away but perfectly viewable for people in Arizona," Watson wrote. "I scouted four locations that had foregrounds to add depth to the imagery and was uniquely inspiring to my hometown. I ended up choosing the location that overlooked the city, partially because it was the easiest to access with all of my time-lapse gear. I used The Photographer's Ephemeris and Google Maps to help scouting and initial line up."
Watson said that he began rolling the timelapse video around 45 minutes before the rocket launch but got worried when he couldn't see anything at the time of the launch. "Then after what seemed like ages, but in reality probably only a minute or two, the Falcon 9 rocket blasted into the horizon and my cameras' field of view," Watson noted.
He also shared more details about the kind of gear he used to shoot the incredible video. You can read more about it here.