I generally try to avoid posting two APOD pictures back to back, but it’s late (the night before), I’m tired, and this is a spectacular photo that posted over the weekend (so you may not have seen it.) I admit, I’m a sucker for night photography, but the framing of this shot — and oh, the colors!! — makes it downright FANTASTIC. Beautifully done, Mr. Vernacotola.
UPDATE, 2/22: The photographer has set up a special page for this photo, with a large Q&A section and reassurances that prints will be available soon. Join the mailing list to stay informed.
The 32nd shuttle mission to the International Space Station, STS-130, left planet Earth on February 8. Its early morning launch to orbit from Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A followed the long, graceful, eastward arc seen in this 2 minute time exposure. Well composed, the dramatic picture also shows the arc’s watery reflection from the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, in Ponte Vedra, Florida, about 115 miles north of the launch site. In the celestial background a waning crescent Moon and stars left their own short trails against the still dark sky. The brightest star trail near the moon was made by red supergiant Antares, alpha star of the constellation Scorpius.