See Actual Lasers Being Shot At Hawaii From Space

Onlookers in Hawaii were perplexed to see giant green lasers fired from space, right at the state.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

hawaii lasers

On January 28th, a green laser was seen piercing the night sky of Hawaii as it quietly traced a path toward the horizon. The scene, which looked like a glitch in the Matrix code, was captured by a telescope and shared on social media. While the truth might still be out there, it wasn’t an alien spaceship scanning the planet.

The mysterious lasers were actually from an orbiting satellite that happened to be above Hawaii. Experts at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, which co-owns the camera, said the green light probably came from a radar device on an orbiting satellite known as ICESat-2. The space technology is owned by NASA and is used to monitor the thickness of Earth’s sea ice, ice sheets, and forests.

But on February 6th, the NAOJ updated their information about the lasers over Hawaii. Based on the trajectory, the agency said it was unlikely to have been NASA after all. Doctor Anthony J Martino, a NASA scientist working on ICESat-2 ATLAS, said the source was not their instrument. Instead, the source of the green beams is allegedly linked to China.

Doctor Alvaro Ivanoff, another NASA specialist working with ICESat-2 ATLAS, did a simulation that suggested that the potential source is the Chinese Daqi-1/AEMS satellite’s ACDL instrument. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan later apologized for the confusion, saying they were appreciative of NASA’s effort in identifying the source of the Hawaii light, Science Alert reports.

According to The Science Times, Daqi-1 is an atmospheric monitoring satellite developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation in Shanghai. Created to monitor the atmospheric environment, it operates in a sun-synchronous orbit by combining passive and active sensing, which is why it was seen over Hawaii.

hawaii lasers

Much like NASA’s ICESat-2 ATLAS, Daqi-1 can monitor fine particle pollution like PM2.5 as well as pollutant gases like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone, and carbon dioxide concentration. China aims to produce a series of these satellites to provide remote sensing data support for environmental authorities and scientific research on global climate change.

To aid its environmental mission, Daqi-1 uses an Aerosol and Carbon Dioxide Detection Lidar. The latter term is an acronym for “laser imaging, detection, and ranging.” While it works a little like sonar, instead of using sound waves to map an area, it sends out laser beams.

These lasers are believed to have been spotted over Hawaii at the end of January.

China’s atmospheric monitoring lasers were explained in a March 2021 press release from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The agency said the country plans to produce a series of Daqi satellites which will be used to monitor pollution and support scientific research into global climate change. If these plans are successful, the lasers over Hawaii may become common.

Still, the green lasers over Hawaii can be a little unsettling following the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that traversed the United States last week. As the FBI begins analyzing the recovered device, a senior State Department official told CNN it was “capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations and was part of a fleet that had flown over more than 40 countries across five continents.”