After midnight on the morning of January 28, 2023, Hawai`i Standard Time, the Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured a pulsing green laser light. It was a fleeting event, but was spotted by avid viewers of the live streaming.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and The Asahi Shimbun Company installed an ultra-high sensitivity camera on the Summit Facility of the Subaru Telescope to livestream the night sky and daily views of Maunakea Observatories 24/7.
The green lights captured with the camera on January 28, 2023, were initially thought to be a remote-sensing laser from the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) of NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite launched in 2018. However, after discussion with Subaru Telescope and The Asahi Shimbun Company, Anthony J. Martino, a NASA scientist at the ICESat-2 team, and his colleagues led by Alvaro Ivanoff found that the laser lights were most likely from Dqui-1, a Chinese atmospheric environment monitoring satellite developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and launched in 2022. Watch the video on the Astro LIVE YouTube channel of The Asahi Shimbun about how the ICESat-2 team identified Dqui-1.
The ultra-sensitive Subaru-Asahi Star Camera captured the faint and transitory laser lights, which are invisible to the naked eye. Similar to the flying spiral on January 18, 2023, some enthusiastic viewers spotted the green lights on the Subaru-Asahi Star Camera live streaming.