Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Trail of a Minotaur

The Trail of a Minotaur: APOD: 2013 November 21 - The Trail of a Minotaur

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 November 21
See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.
Explanation: Star trails arc above a moonlit beach and jetty in this serene sea and night skyscape. Captured on November 19, the single time exposure looks south down the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. But the longest and brightest trail is a Minotaur 1 rocket, a stage separation and exhaust plume visible along the rocket's fiery path toward low Earth orbit. The multi-stage Minotaur was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at 8:15 pm Eastern Time in Virginia, about 400 miles away. On board were a remarkable 29 satellites destined for low Earth orbit, including a small cubesat built by high school students, and Firefly.