What a beautiful sequence in this image !
The photographer has a lot of lovely work on his website (http://www.johnkraussphotos.com
, as credited in the corner of the photo) which also shows he has been perfecting this shot, with similar images taken on December 21, 2015 and July 18, 2016 there in his blog sequence. This one is particularly nice, capturing the entire sequence in a relatively cloudless sky. As the caption states, it must be an 8-minute time exposure, overall.
asmacarthur wrote:The description is very difficult to follow and appears inaccurate to me as a result. I could have benefitted from a labeled approach as "(1) stage one boost back burn" type description. Stage one appears to be associated with the three brightest lines. The "hook"? etc are where you lose me. The only thing that appears as not stage one to me is the faint line continuing to the right.
If you can see this link, it is annotated for you: https://i.imgur.com/ldKPQib.jpg
In the reddit discussion that neolefty kindly linked above, I see that some posters have explained some of the details that might not be apparent on first viewing the image. The photographer also gave some helpful info. Quoting him:
Spacing was roughly as follows. 00:00 is liftoff.
Exposure 1: 00:00 -> 3:13
Exposure 2: ~3:15 -> ~5:15
Exposure 3: ~6:00 -> ~8:00
This explains a small gap in the trails, as the camera was not rolling from 5:15 to 6:00. The largest gap in the parabolic launch arc, though, would be around stage separation where there is simply no burning taking place. I am guessing the camera was set differently for the middle exposure, as an explanation for why the middle part looks bluer, and the middle parts of the star trails look brighter.
As reddit posters pointed out, during the re-entry burn, you can see that it starts with 1 engine, then changes to 3 engines, then ends with just 1 engine. And in the final landing burn, it appears that the booster passed through two places in the atmosphere (with increased moisture content?) that produced a flare-out of condensation from the descent path.