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APOD: 2011 November 27 - Shuttle Plume Shadow Points to the Moon

Why would the shadow of a space shuttle launch plume point toward the Moon? In early 2001 during a launch of Atlantis, the Sun, Earth, Moon, and rocket were all properly aligned for this photogenic coincidence. First, for the space shuttle's plume to cast a long shadow, the time of day must be either near sunrise or sunset. Only then will the shadow be its longest and extend all the way to the horizon. Finally, during a Full Moon, the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the sky. Just after sunset, for example, the Sun is slightly below the horizon, and, in the other direction, the Moon is slightly above the horizon. Therefore, as Atlantis blasted off, just after sunset, its shadow projected away from the Sun toward the opposite horizon, where the Full Moon just happened to be.
:eek:
 
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Bro of Bros, Bro.
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One of the coolest things I've seen, was I was on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale on time, and the pilot told us to look out the window and take a look at the contrail of the shuttle that had just taken off.

He was actually hoping we would get to see a little more action, but it was still pretty cool to see a contrail like that going vertical right by your window at 30,000 feet!
 
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