Did you see them? Sunday’s SpaceX launch creates weird clouds

Photos show sunlight reflecting off of rocket’s exhaust plume

Sunlight from below the horizon illuminated the exhaust from Spacex's Falcon 9 rocket Sunday morning. Photo credit: Jeffrey Kahler - The Villages
Sunlight from below the horizon illuminated the exhaust from Spacex's Falcon 9 rocket Sunday morning. Photo credit: Jeffrey Kahler - The Villages

ORLANDO, Fla. – It was a little harder to get up Sunday morning after moving the clocks ahead one hour, but if you did you were rewarded!

Night launches are great in and of themselves, but every now and then launches just before sunrise provide an extra treat for spectators. If you were up early Sunday to see SpaceX launch another round of Starlink satellites you may have seen the brilliant display in the sky shortly after.

Sunlight from below the horizon illuminated the exhaust from Spacex's Falcon 9 rocket Sunday morning. Photo credit: Jeffrey Kahler - The Villages

Theseclouds are created like the contrails you see leftover from jet aircraft as they fly through cold, dry air aloft. In this case, the trail of exhaust left by burning rocket fuel passed through an area of cold, dry air and quickly froze in the conditions.

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Sunlight from below the horizon illuminated the exhaust from Spacex's Falcon 9 rocket Sunday morning. Photo Credit: Diamond Moondancer

The sun then illuminated the exhaust that was spreading out in the morning sky as it got closer to the 7:36 a.m. sunrise. If you have any pictures upload them to the PinIt section (camera icon) on the free Pinpoint Weather app.


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About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.