Another balloon spotted near Hawaii, headed toward mainland

Orangish squished balloon shape floating upward into clouds with stuff dangling below.
Was it a weather balloon? A new balloon sighting over the Hawaiian islands, with the balloon headed toward the U.S. and Mexico, has been drawing a lot of attention. But is it just a weather balloon, like the one shown here? Image via NOAA/ Wikimedia Commons.

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Earlier this year, Chinese spy balloons captured everyone’s attention as they floated across the United States. And now the U.S. military has spotted another balloon, this time over Hawaii. According to OSINTdefender, this balloon has an unknown origin and does not appear to have electronic equipment on board. NBC news said that the military reported that the balloon poses no threat to air traffic or national security. The balloon is now headed toward Mexico or the U.S. West Coast, which means some people may have the opportunity to spot it.

Balloon spotted Friday

The U.S. military spotted the balloon on Friday, April 28, 2023, near the Hawaiian islands. Officials said it didn’t go over any sensitive areas. The military scrambled three F-22s from Hickam Air Force Base to intercept the balloon. The high-altitude balloon had no identifying marks and no electronic equipment. At this point, it’s unclear if it’s a weather balloon or something else. The Pentagon determined the balloon poses no threat.

In early February, multiple Chinese spy balloons drifted over the U.S. In one case, one balloon was escorted across the United States by the military before they shot it down on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina. The military then retrieved the balloon debris from the ocean for study. In late February, they released a high-resolution photo of the balloon from a U2 reconnaissance aircraft. And, in mid-February, the U.S. military shot down an unidentified object over Lake Huron.

Seeing the balloon from the ground

Last time, many people on the ground reported watching the balloons as it drifted over the United States. For example, meteorology student Evan Fisher spotted the balloon from his backyard in North Carolina.

Will you be able to spot the new balloon drifting toward North America? It’s too soon to say. The balloon may appear over the West Coast of the U.S. or Mexico, or it may not appear at all. If it’s a weather balloon, they tend to pop when they get too high. In fact, the official FBI report on the famous object found in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 states that it was the remains of a popped weather balloon.

If you see the balloon, send us a picture at EarthSky Community Photos!

Bottom line: The U.S. military spotted a balloon floating near the Hawaiian islands on Friday, April 28, 2023. They performed a reconnaissance mission with F-22s and reported that the balloon of unknown origin poses no threat to air travel or national security.

May 3, 2023

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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