Michael Scully in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, wasn’t sure what he was seeing in the early morning twilight on May 21, 2018. He wrote:
This was eerie. The “cloud” pattern was the only thing lit up in that part of the sky. If you get a chance and could tell me what this is, I’d be thrilled.
Cool photo, Michael, especially to catch by chance!
It was exhaust from Monday morning’s launch of an Antares rocket, which was boosting an uncrewed Cygnus cargo ship to space. The cargo ship did reach orbit nine minutes after launch at 4:44 a.m. EDT (08:44 UTC) from Pad-0A of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Cygnus is carrying supplies to the International Space Station. It’s due to arrive at the space station today (Thursday, May 24, 2018).
Michael’s photo was not the only one we received of Monday’s launch from Wallops:
Bottom line: Images of Monday’s launch of an uncrewed Cygnus cargo ship, due to reach the International Space Station on Thursday, May 24.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.