Shiny clouds lingered in the Florida sky in the hours after SpaceX launched its latest mission from the Space Coast early Thursday morning (Jan. 26).
SpaceX launched 56 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:32 a.m. EST (0932 GMT). The predawn launch produced noctilucent clouds that were visible after the launch, according to local reports posted on Twitter.
"These never get old and are different after every launch," posted meteorologist Wright Dobbs, who viewed the clouds from Tallahassee, a four-hour drive away from the launch site, which is near Orlando.
Noctilucent clouds are rare high-altitude clouds that can also appear naturally, but only when specific conditions are fulfilled. In general they are visible in the summer months, after sunset, and are distinctive wispy streaks that stand out from other cloud types.
Beautiful noctilucent clouds this morning about 1.5 hrs after launch of the #SpaceX #Starlink 5-2 mission. This was the view of the clouds from #Tallahassee. These never get old and are different after every launch! #FLwx #Falcon9 #Florida #LoveFL @spann @KKennedy_WX @WCTVMike pic.twitter.com/Efoa08vcFcJanuary 26, 2023
There was a launch--there wasn't much to see.Despite thick clouds and drizzle SpaceX successfully launched 56 Starlink satellites, group 5-2, into orbit on top of a Falcon9 rocket at 4:32am this morning. This was the 5th launch from Florida this month. 📷 by #rpgphotography pic.twitter.com/4yjsjNCpg2January 26, 2023
Two ships passing in the night: #spacex Starlink 5-2 rises above the clouds behind a boat sitting anchored on the Banana River this morning. Light showers are around the Cape this morning with a low cloud deck -- this rocket more or less disappeared after about 15-20 seconds. pic.twitter.com/eVzQQcsbWpJanuary 26, 2023
It's common for SpaceX launches to leave behind intriguing sky patterns, including "space jellyfish" or spiral shapes high in the sky. These are harmless effects resulting from rocket gases high in the atmosphere.
SpaceX has launched six times this year so far and could get to 100 liftoffs overall in 2023 across its various programs, including launches to the International Space Station with astronauts on board, as well as forthcoming opportunities with the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and potentially the giant Starship Mars rocket, which is still in development.
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