Illustration for article titled Helicopter Sparks Draw a Beautiful Galaxy on the Night Sky

It is always a pleasure to see the Kopps-Etchells Effect in such perfect form. The sparks from this U.S. Marines helicopter form a starry ring around the edge of the blades—a the result of static electricity created by friction between the dust and the metal blades moving through the air.

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From the official U.S. Marines photo caption:

U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) break down a rapid ground refueling during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) near 29 Palms, Calif., March 27, 2015.

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[Sgt. Daniel D. Kujanpaa/U.S. Marine Corps]

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