Monday, March 16, 2009

Space Shuttle!

While I finish up your story (the ending takes a while because that has to be the best written part) and while I work and go to school and make money and scrub my toilet and attempt to control my insane cat, I give you a photograph I took last night of the space shuttle Discovery taking off. I live about three hours from the Kennedy Space Center, so this was a highly unusual sight from down here. I've only been able to see it one other time and that was around 1990 or 91. We were lucky to have a really clear night. Also, I think the timing of the launch, around sunset helped us to see it too because the glare of the daytime sun didn't obscure it and because the sunset reflected nicely off the vapors. It was a really beautiful and fascinating sight. What you see here, I believe, is the trail from the rocket boosters which separate first and the cloud of vapors created from the separation of the fuel tank. The picture is taken from my parents' backyard where we were enjoying Sunday dinner on the back patio. My mother was convinced the space shuttle had exploded, but I knew it was fine because you could actually see it moving through the sky as a tiny orange dot, like a little star. Here is an article about the launch and the mission if you're interested.

13 comments:

MtnMama said...

Not to detract from your picture or description, but my first thought was that it looks like a “to-go” container launched by a white bra, or white rubber bands. I guess I’m just too earth bound today. :)

Wide Lawns said...

Ha! That's funny. I love it!

Greg S said...

Thats cool. I've never seen a launch in person, but once when I lived in Houston, I saw the shuttle piggybacked on the 747 transport plan flying by my office building.

jennifer said...

you gotta make the drive to go see it next time it takes off at night. so worth it

the new girl said...

Cool!
My BIL and his family went to a launch (last year?) and he said it was one of the most incredible things he's ever seen.

Albany Jane said...

How awesome! And what a treat, being fairly far from the space center.

Off topic here, but I'm traveling to Tampa. Would you know the general area and any good places to eat? (I love your blog and all, so if you have any recs they would be lovely!)

Sundar said...

Stuff like that always fascinates me. It's a bit of a shame that a typical shuttle launch has become page 3 news, unless something goes wrong.

Wide Lawns said...

jane unfortunately I've never been to Tampa as an adult. It's pretty far away, but I have friends who live near there and I can ask.

Jean_Phx said...

Was the baseball player at dinner? You know he is on his way soon ;-)

BoB said...

The lighting conditions you've described are perfect for observing things you don't normally see. There is no backlight, the sun is providing parallel rays that illuminate the exhaust from "your" side and the contrast with the background sky (where the light goes on forever) is very high.

These same conditions allow daytime viewing of satellites. The irridium birds (aka celltowers in the sky) are the best, since they have huge planar antennae that are highly reflective. When the sun is low and the contrast is high, the light reflected is amazing. There are sites that give times for these sightings for your location. Try googleying irridium flare if anyone is interested.

I've thought of having fun with my daughter by staring up at the sky in the right direction at the right time and waiting for her to ask me what I'm doing. I tell her I'm trying to make a star. Then the flare happens and I tell her that it's hard to make stars and they don't last very long. The weather's getting better, maybe now is a good time...

Eric said...

Totally cool.
We jsut do not have the opportunity for that kind of Nasa Porn here in Seattle

Hilary said...

Fantastic shot. That's a real keeper.

Anonymous said...

I actually took my daughter to see it by the Coral Gables High School track. It was impressive. I even thought I saw the booster rockets seperate. Discovery was a bright star taking off.

Its funny as I was on the track waiting to spot Discovery, I yelled out loud when I saw it "there it is" to which most people looked up. However there was one lady walking the track on her cell phone who did not even look up. For all she knew an airplane exploded, but she could not be bothered...miami, insular and self absorbed.

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