Cameras at an astronomical observatory in Hawaii captured this amazing... thing last week. It appears to be a sort of... flare? Astronomy blogger Phil Plait describes it as an "[a]wesomely weird expanding halo of light." We are pretty sure it is the Star Gate!

[There was a video here]

Here's another view of our funny little ghost explosion, also taken from a camers on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. What is it? Plait, who is some kind of scientist, agrees with posters on the Astronomy Picture of the Day forums: It's a missile.

Asterisk board member calvin 737 was the first to suggest it might be related to a Minuteman III missile launch around that time. As more people on the forum dug into it, the timing was found to be right. The missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (in California) at 03:35 Hawaii time, just minutes before the halo was seen. I noticed the stars of Cassiopeia are visible in the webcam, so the view was to the northeast, which is the right direction to see the missile as well.

Hmm. That's an intriguing theory! But it's just a theory. We're pretty sure it is a kind of cosmic, extra-dimensional doorway. So, let's teach the controversy on this one!

[Bad Astronomy]