Sunday, June 28, 2009

Photos | Delta IV rocket launches through many hues of blue

After the launch of a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral had been delayed since Friday and again for a matter of minutes Saturday, I was in the dark as to when the thunderstorms would finally clear for it to blast off. After 6:45 p.m., when I heard that 6:51 p.m. would be the time, I raced from work to the Indian River to get a few photos.

Even from Palm Shores, about 30 miles south of the cape, it was a beautiful daytime launch. I appreciated the gradations of blue as the rocket shot through them. I took this shot with my backup camera, a Nikon D40, at a focal length of 18mm. I also had my D90 slung around my neck for the close-up shots.

Two boosters fall from the Delta IV for an eventual splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, as the rocket soon disappears into the distance. The rocket successfully carried the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-O weather satellite into orbit, where it will start to watch severe-weather systems, such as hurricanes, in two years.

The contrails cast a distinct shadow. The conditions were just right for it to be visible. And yes, that palm tree is glowing.

This shot better shows the shadow. A rainbow appeared to arc over the river as the rocket lifted off, but my angle was such that the two couldn't be captured together. As it was, none of my rainbow shots are worth publishing.

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