Friday, May 28, 2010

Rocket light on a moonlit night

After several scrubbed attempts, this Delta IV rocket finally lifted off Thursday night, but I wasn't really prepared. I was busy at work, so I couldn't split early to make it to the beach. Instead, I pulled over along the Pineda Causeway over the Indian River, only minutes from the newspaper, and quickly set up my tripod. I took one test shot a minute before ignition, then opened the shutter for two minutes during the actual launch. The moon was full, and I prefer a pitch-black sky for evening launches, but Earth's natural satellite did light some clouds that the rocket engines didn't. So that was different. This above image is a layered version that combines both the test shot and the real thing. Such a composite gives move details to the sky as the rocket streaks into the sky at 11 p.m., delivering a new kind of GPS satellite into space.

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