Florida: Spectacular Dawn Rocket Launch Today!

30 Second Exposure of Atlas Lift-off

30 Second Exposure of Atlas Lift-off

Tadpole-like Expanding Cloud Plume of Mist

Tadpole-like Expanding Cloud Plume of Mist

Leftover Swirly Clouds that Stayed for Quite Some Time Afterwards

Leftover Swirly Clouds that Stayed for Quite Some Time Afterwards

We had an absolutely spectacular Atlas 5 rocket launch this morning of a Navy MUOS communications satellite into orbit.  The 20-story tall rocket lifted off at 6:18 am.  The dawn sky brightened as the rocket took off and rose up.  Then we saw something we had never seen before – the white rocket plume brightened into an enormous tadpole-like cloud of mist as the rocket arced east across the Atlantic.  The phenomenon was caused by the perfect combination of sun angle below the horizon and high humidity.  The white cloud of water vapor (not smoke) was formed when the rocket’s hot exhaust gases hit the air.  It was an amazing sight, and one of the top two launches we have ever seen!

About Pam
Richard and Pam lived in the San Francisco Bay Area 14 years (1987-1999 and 2008-2011). They lived in Florida 13 years previously, until returning in July 2011 to present. They hope their photography will encourage you to get out and discover nature's beauty in your own backyard, parks, and wild places. Click on any pictures on this blog to see them full size with additional details.

16 Responses to Florida: Spectacular Dawn Rocket Launch Today!

  1. reocochran says:

    Oh my goodness! ☆☆☆☆ Awesome photographs and so glad everything went well. 🙂

  2. What a treat to see this – thanks for sharing!

    • Pam says:

      Thank you! Even us locals are still talking about it – was certainly one of a kind. You never know when you’ll see something special outside!

  3. Super! I have never seen a launch.

    • Pam says:

      I hope you see a launch someday. In a couple of years we will have the super tall rockets taking off here from Florida again. Perhaps you can visit then. We also do have some historic structures in the state and museums that you might find interesting.

      • I hope too. We already have one goal in Florida – Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.

        • Pam says:

          I thought you would enjoy that. You could stay nearby at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel. Of course in our area you would visit the Kennedy Space Center for the day. And you would need to visit Miami – many grand places to stay there, wonderful places to eat, and be sure to visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (and on a quirky note the Coral Castle). All of this is among many other things. I have a guide with links when the time comes.

  4. Thank you for sharing these stunning pictures! It looks wonderful, but thinking about the technological progress… that make me shiver… Have a great week end :-)c

  5. Cool Pics says:

    Beautiful photos!

  6. reocochran says:

    This was such a blessing you shared this with us. I love stars, the moon, satellites and rockets. My Dad worked for NASA but we only visited Florida and Cape Canaveral now known as Cape Kennedy, right? It may be changed. . .
    I came back to tell you we joke when we see a shooting star and say, “Dad’s rearranging the stars again!”

    • Pam says:

      Oh we love space too! In fact, my first major at college was space science until I switched to technical communications (I wasn’t very good at rocket fuel calculations). How wonderful your Dad worked for NASA! And your joke about a shooting star and your Dad is really sweet and touched my heart.
      And FYI, the terminology now is Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for launches and Kennedy Space Center for the tourist visitor complex.

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