Southeastern Sky

Aug 21, 2007 by Jared Smith

I photographed two very cool, yet very different things in my southeastern sky this week. The first is a double rainbow from a very mean, fast approaching storm. The brightest rainbow is caused by the sunlight from the setting sun reflecting off rain drops. The second, double arc is caused by a double reflection of sunlight inside those rain drops. Notice that the colors of the outer rainbow are inverted (purple on top and red on bottom)? The storm knocked out our power and it remained out for 6 or 7 hours.

The second image is of the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Endeavour racing across the sky and setting over my neighbor’s roof. The brightest streak on the left is the space station with two Russian cosmonauts and one U.S. astronaut on board and the dimmer streak on the right is the space shuttle with 7 people on board. The space shuttle had undocked from the space station a day or so earlier and landed the next morning. Both are moving about 17,500 miles per hour or 5 miles per second and are 211 miles up.

The shorter streaks of light in the image are stars. They appear streaked because the Earth rotated a small amount during the 30 second or so exposure.

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