Noctilucent Clouds

Smoke trail from launch of Phoenix Mars Mission

Man-made Noctilucent Cloud Resulting From the Launch of the Phoenix Mars Mission

On August 4, 2007, the launch of the Phoenix Mars Mission at 5:26 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida left an exhaust trail that produced a display of man-made noctilucent clouds in the early morning sky. The clouds kept changing shape as it was twisted and blown by high altitude winds. The changing angle of the solar illumination added to the spectacle. The nighttime launch was an impressive sight.

This image was taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel SLR camera using an 18-55mm zoom lens. The image was published on the website for the Phoenix Mars Mission.

August 4, 2007
Image by Sid Leach
Cocoa Beach, Florida

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