Monday, February 08, 2010

Last nighttime shuttle launch

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Living here in Florida can be exciting for several reasons, one being the whole NASA scene. The Orlando TV channel I watch has their own space reporter for the local news and that somehow makes me feel more connected to what's going on out on the Cape. I was a bit sentimental about last night being the last nighttime space shuttle launch. I remember the first one I ever saw shortly after moving to Florida, not knowing what it was. All I could think was "Why is that shooting star going up??" only to find out later it was the shuttle. I've had the great privilege of being a VIP guest for a night time shuttle launch a couple of years ago (how I know an astronaut is another story) and remember how I have never seen anything light up the night sky like it did. It's something I will never forget.

When I heard this was going to be the supposed last night launch, I just had to get up a 4 AM and watch it. I took a few pictures, although I realize most everyone is going to have to use some imagination to see what's going on. The shuttle is the dot almost in the center of the picture. The dot to the right and just slightly above is the (crescent) moon. (This view is from my backyard.) I was able to watch the tail of the shuttle go from right to left across my view. I could see the tail until the booster rockets came off, then it disappeared into the left side of the sky. The really cool thing is that this shuttle was almost 3 hours away in drive time. I've always wondered how far away people can see the launch.

I suppose the only thing I was lucky about was that none of my neighbors were up to see me out in flannel pajamas with a camera.

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