RE: STS-73 'beam' observation

Ted Molczan (
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 23:28:05 -0400

The "beam" most likely was a cloud of ice crystals from a waste
water dump, illuminated by the sun. This phenomenon has been
seen before; I saw it during Challenger's August 1985 mission.
It is a neat sight.

bye for now

Sent: 	October 26, 1995 14:18 PM
Subject: 	STS-73 'beam' observation

Hi all,

I got this message from Cal Deal <>. Does anyone have any
ideas? A similar observation was reported on by (Gregory Bolt).

-- Bart
Perhaps you can explain something for me: Using the information from the 
SatPasses Home Page, I watched the Shuttle fly over Fort Lauderdale this 
morning. I noticed what I can only describe as a 'headlight' effect : a 
dim, gray glow that extended in front of the shuttle. I would say that 
it was not quite as long as the sun is wide, if that helps. It widened 
as it got farther away from the shuttle. It had sort of a rounded, 
elongated triangular shape that emanated from the shuttle.

I have seen the Shuttle and satellites fly over many times, but have 
never seen this before.

A woman who observed the Shuttle from elsewhere in Fort Lauderdale also 
saw it. She thought it was from the Shuttle's 'headlights', but since 
there is nothing up there to cause any light refraction, I knew that was 

Could it be exhaust/gasses from a rocket burn? Was a rocket burn in 
progress? I really would like to know what caused it.

Any ideas?