Atlas Rocket Lifts Off In Florida, Delivering A Spectacular Sky Show
View of the #atlasV launch from #tampabay pic.twitter.com/ERpqcw2GIB— Alex Shimp (@shimpster) October 2, 2015
It was a routine launch for the Atlas V booster, which was carrying a Mexican satellite into orbit as it lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Friday morning. But the rocket's expanding exhaust plume was anything but ordinary.
Florida Today reports: "The rocket bolted from Launch Complex 41 with 1.6 million pounds of thrust, lighting up a low deck of clouds before shooting through into darkness."
The resulting show, as evidenced by photos posted to Twitter, was amazing. You can see more at the newspaper's gallery, here.
One more...#atlas5. pic.twitter.com/HhY1QbI1Rf— Chris Schwab (@flhurricane) October 2, 2015
It's another beautiful blue rocket launch! If u r outside taking pics, send them to us! #Fox35 #AtlasV pic.twitter.com/W5XPySuRGZ— LuAnne Sorrell FOX 35 (@FOX35LuAnne) October 2, 2015
#atlasv did it again! The delay paid off pic.twitter.com/JWH0v83Kqg— TimFerrari34 (@TIm_Ferrari34) October 2, 2015
Awesome sight of #AtlasV @ulalaunch from Jupiter! pic.twitter.com/O0UsOahO43— E. Hinsdale (@HinsdalePR) October 2, 2015
"Simply put, it was due to the sun's angle at time of launch," Col. Shannon Klug, commander of the Air Force's 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron, is quoted by Florida Today as saying. "The sunrise highlighted the normal expansion of the exhaust plume which expands as the atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude. The rays of the sun caught the expanding gasses just right and ... magic!"
Exactly a month ago, a similar Atlas V launch produced similarly stunning photos, such as the one at the bottom of this post.
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