Re: streaking above California skies

From: Ralph McConahy (rmcconahy@earthlink.net)
Date: Fri Jul 07 2000 - 21:46:48 PDT

  • Next message: Skywise: "Re: NMD Minuteman II launch"

    > Sometime between 7-11 p.m. PDT, a modified Minuteman II target missile
    > will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,
    
    Very interesting view of the launch from the High Desert. First sighting at
    04:19:20 UT as an orange flame moving straight up directly west of my
    location (I'm about 330 km from VAFB). I could see the exhaust as a thin
    "smoke trail" in binoculars. About 40 seconds later the rocket exhaust
    became white, getting brighter and brighter for the next 30 seconds. The
    exhaust plume expanded to a full 40 degrees in width--this is what made the
    view so interesting because of its consistent brightness in the western sky
    as it continued to expand. I don't know if this was because of upper
    atmosphere moisture or airborne dust (we had high winds today). The rocket
    reached its apex from my point of view at about 55 degrees above the
    horizon. As the plume began to fade, it revealed a green shape in the middle
    that looked like the tail of a large comet. Five minutes after launch all
    that was visible in the sky was the eerie green "comet."
    
    Just prior to launch, as I scanned the western sky, I had a chance 1x
    sighting of Cosmos 1833r (17590, 87-27 B).
    
      Ralph McConahy
      34.8829N  117.0064W  670m
    
    
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