A group of astronomers claimed that a set of green laser beams seen over the Hawaiian Islands last month was likely produced by a Chinese satellite.
In a Twitter post made Jan. 30, The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) said that its Subaru-Asahi Star Camera located on the Big Island of Hawaii photographed green laser lights in the skies of Maunakea.
On Jan 28, 2023, HST, Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured green laser lights in the cloudy sky over Maunakea, Hawai`i. The lights are thought to be from a remote-sensing altimeter satellite ICESAT-2/43613.
Watch the video:https://t.co/xqoJvSa24s#SubaruTelescope pic.twitter.com/5hhIsewuNp
— Subaru Telescope Eng (@SubaruTel_Eng) January 31, 2023
The agency initially thought the lights were shot out of a NASA remote-sensing altimeter satellite known as an ICESAT-2/43613, according to reports.
This prediction, made on Jan. 30, was retracted on Feb.6, with NAOJ now claiming NASA scientists “did a simulation of the trajectory of satellites that have a similar instrument and found a most likely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.”
“We really appreciate their efforts in the identification of the light,” said the NAOJ. “We are sorry about our confusion related to this event and its potential impact on the ICESat-2 team.”
Roy Gal, who is an affiliate of the University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy, reportedly described the source of the lasers as “a Chinese satellite that is measuring pollutants, among other things.”
“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, environmental measurement satellite.”
Gal additionally opined that the flying Chinese object poses no risk to Hawawaii or anything else, adding, “We have aircraft making these measurements all the time. If you’ve seen topographical maps with high precision, those are made using sometimes this kind of thing.”
Meanwhile, Ray L’Heureux, who is a former chief of staff of Marine Forces Pacific, offered a different view.
“I’m not sure, and this is my opinion, why the Chinese — who are probably some of the most prolific polluters on the planet — would be collecting data on pollutants on this side of the Pacific,” he said.
He added, “It seems to me that those tensions are there. People are a little antsy, and I think that we just need to be a little bit more aware, vigilant.”
A video of the peculiar incident was posted online: