Now with Photos!

William Stewart

We had reasonably clear skies in Cheshire so was worth making the effort to go out to see this event.

The launch was delayed 7 minutes but 05:00 GMT rolled by and I’d still seen nothing – decided to stay out a bit longer to enjoy the meteors when the fuel dump suddenly appeared.

The Centaur upper stage is powered by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and it would make sense to dump the fuel at different times. The first image was taken at 05:09:48 GMT. Just the initial plume is visible:



The second at 05:11:14 GMT – the initial plume is fading but the bright dot to the right is the second plume just starting to emerge from the booster:


The third at 05:13:30 GMT – first plume contines to fade, second plume getting brighter


05:19:34 GMT – first plume lost in cloud, structure now visible in second plume


Through occasional gaps in the clouds, the second plume continued to be visible to the unaided until around 05:40 GMT, still expanding, estimate it was around 0.5 degrees in diameter.

Alas the camera focus wasn’t as crisp as I’d have liked it – equipment used was a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a 75-300mm lens (fully zoomed out to 300mm), ISO 6400, 1 second exposure.

Hope others were able to see this.

Best regards


PS Faint smudge from this also visible on video meteor cameras!