Clare Rehill photographed the spiral in the sky above Queenstown, a town on New Zealand's South Island.
She posted(opens in new tab) the photo on Twitter early in the morning her time on Monday (June 20), speculating that "it's got something to do with SpaceX."
The sky show came courtesy of a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday at 12:27 a.m. EDT (0427 GMT)
Prof Richard Easther, a physicist at Auckland University, explained the reason behind the phenomenon. Clouds of that nature sometimes occurred when a rocket carried a satellite into orbit, he told
'When the propellant is ejected out the back, you have what's essentially water and carbon dioxide - that briefly forms a cloud in space that's illuminated by the sun', Professor Easther
The New Plymouth Astronomical Society said on Facebook that it was "most likely a "fuel dump" or "exhaust plume" from a SpaceX rocket launch", as similar effects have been seen before.