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Delta II Rocket

While enjoying a clear, cold, Florida winter night (12-20-04), we were unexpectedly treated on bright fireworks in the sky. At first, it looked as if a huge meteor was going to impact close to use, but soon we realized that it was a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. On this image you can see that one of the rocket booster is just being released.


At first, I was stunned,and after fumbling for my camera, took short images that did not show much, but soon I started to lenghten the exposure to reveal the path it took through the sky.


Here, the rocket is flying through the constellation Bootes. After sending NASA an e-mail asking them what they had launched that night, I learned from them that it was a Delta II rocket which carried a GPS satellite into orbit around the Earth.


Don't think that a Florida night cannot be cold. Of course, it does not compare to the hardship that some observers face way up north, but if you don't prepare properly, you can be in for a cold surprise, even in Florida.