APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 3212
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:07 am

Image SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over California

Explanation: What's happened to the sky? On Friday, the photogenic launch plume from a SpaceX rocket launch created quite a spectacle over parts of southern California and Arizona. Looking at times like a giant space fish, the impressive rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, was so bright because it was backlit by the setting Sun. Lifting off during a minuscule one-second launch window, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered to low Earth orbit ten Iridium NEXT satellites that are part of a developing global communications network. The plume from the first stage is seen on the right, while the soaring upper stage rocket is seen at the apex of the plume toward the left. Several good videos of the launch were taken. The featured image was captured from Orange County, California, in a 2.5 second duration exposure.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>
[/b]

madtom1999
Ensign
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:21 am

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by madtom1999 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:13 am

So what is (or what causes) the central blob about a 1/3rd the way down the main plume?

Boomer12k
:---[===] *
Posts: 2243
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:07 am

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Boomer12k » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:35 am

Awesome....

Merry Xmas All...
:---[===] *

Guest

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Guest » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:43 am

Falcon 9, but not Heavy.

User avatar
Case
Commander
Posts: 573
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:08 pm
Location: (52°N, 06°E)

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Case » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:46 am

APOD Robot wrote:… that are part of a developing global communications network.
Fascinating to see the deployment of the 10 satellites. Also awesome how they managed to put extra hosted payload on them, to monitor planes and ships. Makes me wonder, once fully operational, would this have sped up the search effort for MH370? Seems to me like it could, as it could work out of range of land based receivers. (ADS-B is far from fool-proof though, as it has no authentication, and it is not required yet for all airplanes.)
Last edited by Case on Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Case
Commander
Posts: 573
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:08 pm
Location: (52°N, 06°E)

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Case » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:57 am

Guest wrote:Falcon 9, but not Heavy.
Well spotted, can’t be both: Falcon Heavy is a different beast. Falcon Heavy hasn’t been launched yet. Demo launch now scheduled for January 2018.

Iron Mouse

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Iron Mouse » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:10 pm

I'd like to know more about the one-second launch window.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 13805
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:33 pm

Iron Mouse wrote:I'd like to know more about the one-second launch window.
Probably related to the complex final orbital pattern of the Iridium satellites.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
RJN
Baffled Boffin
Posts: 1440
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: Michigan Tech

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by RJN » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:42 pm

Guest wrote:Falcon 9, but not Heavy.
Thanks. Yes, it was "just" a Falcon 9 and not a Falcon 9 Heavy. My mistake. I have now updated the APOD.

- RJN

BDanielMayfield
Don't bring me down
Posts: 1646
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:24 am
AKA: Bruce
Location: East Idaho

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:28 pm

From the location of both the launch and the photographer it appears that this could have been a north to south polar trajectory. Was that the case?
"Happy are the peaceable ... "

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 13805
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:46 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:From the location of both the launch and the photographer it appears that this could have been a north to south polar trajectory. Was that the case?
Iridium satellites are in nearly, but not quite polar orbits.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
geckzilla
Ocular Digitator
Posts: 8843
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by geckzilla » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:20 pm

RJN wrote:
Guest wrote:Falcon 9, but not Heavy.
Thanks. Yes, it was "just" a Falcon 9 and not a Falcon 9 Heavy. My mistake. I have now updated the APOD.

- RJN
My mistake, too.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

User avatar
MarkBour
Subtle Signal
Posts: 665
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:44 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by MarkBour » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:32 pm

madtom1999 wrote:So what is (or what causes) the central blob about a 1/3rd the way down the main plume?
I'd certainly be interested in this, too. It makes for a nice "eye", when one imagines the shape is a large fish. But it was strange to watch it evolving quite a bit, almost like a booster had fallen away and was still burning. But I have to realize I have never seen a rocket plume lit by the sun in this unique way before. Maybe such a central vortex is a commonplace from rocket exhaust that we never saw. It looks pretty strange, though. Part of the time, it looks like someone is blowing smoke rings.

EDIT: I just watched a recent SpaceX launch video. I believe the small plume in the middle of the main plume is Stage 1 of the Falcon doing a "boost-back" maneuver. It happens pretty shortly after the first stage separates from the ongoing Stage 2. That would explain it, it is another rocket burn. I am told they did not actually save the first stage this time, but I still think it did a post-separation burn. I don't know why. Perhaps to stabilize re-entry or perhaps, even though they were not recovering it, they needed to position its re-entry location a bit.
Last edited by MarkBour on Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mark Goldfain

User avatar
geckzilla
Ocular Digitator
Posts: 8843
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by geckzilla » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:05 pm

Here's a photo with some things labeled:
https://twitter.com/SpaceY_UK/status/944911802630066176
Photo by Joshua Berson
DR0AQyQWsAAhC7X.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1322
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by ta152h0 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:30 am

So this is not a University of California student prank ?
Wolf Kotenberg

User avatar
geckzilla
Ocular Digitator
Posts: 8843
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:43 am

Another great video of the event.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

BillBixby
Science Officer
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:57 pm

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by BillBixby » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:10 am

geckzilla wrote:Another great video of the event.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
G, thank you.

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1322
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by ta152h0 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:26 am

Imagine a rocket cam video of this
Wolf Kotenberg

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 15050
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:42 pm


Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 13805
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:55 pm

ta152h0 wrote:Imagine a rocket cam video of this
If you go to the SpaceX site you can see the entire launch and deployment sequence, including from cameras on the rocket. Really, from that view you don't see much. It is most impressive from a distance. Kind of like the way galaxies are impressive from a distance, and just a vague gray band when you are inside them.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
MarkBour
Subtle Signal
Posts: 665
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:44 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by MarkBour » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:02 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
ta152h0 wrote:Imagine a rocket cam video of this
If you go to the SpaceX site you can see the entire launch and deployment sequence, including from cameras on the rocket. Really, from that view you don't see much. It is most impressive from a distance. Kind of like the way galaxies are impressive from a distance, and just a vague gray band when you are inside them.
To each his own? I really enjoyed watching the Iridium sats floating free from the rocket. At one point near the end, you see several of them all deployed, trailing off into the distance, like a string of pearls. But perhaps what ta152h0 wanted to see was an artificial reverse sunset from the view of the rocket.
Mark Goldfain

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 13805
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over... (2017 Dec 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:28 pm

MarkBour wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:If you go to the SpaceX site you can see the entire launch and deployment sequence, including from cameras on the rocket. Really, from that view you don't see much. It is most impressive from a distance. Kind of like the way galaxies are impressive from a distance, and just a vague gray band when you are inside them.
To each his own? I really enjoyed watching the Iridium sats floating free from the rocket. At one point near the end, you see several of them all deployed, trailing off into the distance, like a string of pearls. But perhaps what ta152h0 wanted to see was an artificial reverse sunset from the view of the rocket.
Sorry, didn't mean to suggest that the rocket cam video isn't neat. Only that it isn't a good platform for seeing the light show in the sky.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com