Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rocket Trails in the Milky Way
Posted on 03/28/2012 9:12:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: On March 27, five sounding rockets leapt into early morning skies from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket EXperiment (ATREX), begining at 4:58 am EDT the rockets launched consecutively at 80 second intervals. Releasing a chemical tracer they created luminous white clouds within Earth's ionosphere at altitudes above 60 to 65 miles, swept along by the poorly understood high-altitude jet stream. (Not the same jet stream that airliners fly through at altitudes of 5 to 6 miles.) Seen along the mid-atlantic region of the United States, the clouds drifted through starry skies, captured in this clear photograph from East Point, New Jersey. Looking south toward the launch site, the tantalizing celestial background includes the stars of Sagittarius, Scorpius, and the more permanent faint, white, luminous clouds of the Milky Way.
(Excerpt) Read more at 126.96.36.199 ...
[Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light)]
"more permanent" strikes me as a little strange, since these "clouds" are simply numerous stars at a great distance. I guess this statement refers to the change in the configuration of nearby bright stars on the time scale of hundreds of thousands of years. OTOH, each of these bright stars should remain in view from the earth for many millions of years, AFAIK. It's an open question who or what might be here to do the viewing after such a lapse of time.
Everyting in moderation, ya know...
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