Photo of the Day – January 14th – Falcon 9

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A composite of three exposures, this night skyscape follows the January 7 launch and first stage landing of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The bright streak beginning farthest left traces the initial phase of the rocket’s flight, while the second stage separates and continues toward orbit. Above the top of the launch arc due to perspective, a bright streak shows the returning first stage slowing and descending toward the Cape. During the scene’s effective long exposure time, the background stars leave short trails in the night sky of the rotating planet.

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