twilight rocket launch

Falcon Heavy Booster Separation and Boost Back
Core booster, lower right corner, continues into orbit while the side boosters, the two little lights with plumes nearly above the core, begin their return and landing.

Last Monday, 16 January, Space X launched a Falcon Heavy from Canaveral with two payloads for the United States Space Force. These payloads were eventually delivered to geostationary orbits. I was out in my front yard watching the launch. I did see, and capture, the initial fiery launch. And I was about to head back in again because I thought I was too far away to see much of anything else. But I stuck around anyway out of curiosity more than anything else, and as the Heavy continued to ascend I saw the twilight plume as the rocket rose above the Earth’s shadow. That’s when I put the camera back up to my eye and began to track it in the viewfinder. I had enough presence of mind to start zooming in and out and managed to capture a few more images, such as the one leading this post where the side boosters had separated from the core and had begun their trip back down to the Space X landing zones.

I’ve seen the official images taken by many at the launch site, and of course their work is better than mine. But there is considerable satisfaction on my part at having captured this particular moment in time, and hand-held. Especially given that I’m almost 100 miles away from the Canaveral launch site.

I used my Lumix G9 with the Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm PRO attached. I would have used my E-M1.2 body except the batteries I had were pretty much drained at having just sat in my bag for too long. I’ve since charged them both back up, and I’m making a strong effort to use the E-M1.2 a lot more than I have up to this time. When I looked at the EXIF data on the image I discovered I’d only had the zoom out to 100mm, which means I could have used my 12-100mm PRO as well. But the 40-150mm is a stop faster, and I’m glad I had that extra stop as I had the zoom opened to f/2.8, its maximum aperture. And it appears that the G9 and 40-150mm PRO worked together just fine. But I still prefer to use that zoom with the E-M1.2.

And sometimes, when the opportunity presents itself, I photograph more than cats and flowers.

early morning lightshow

I walk my two big girls, Ruby and Annie, twice per day, once right before sunrise and again right after sunset. This gives all three of us plenty of exercise and allows us to avoid the heat of the day. It’s also a good way to at least get in one walk, as the summertime days in Florida are punctuated with afternoon and evening thundershowers.

This morning was a little different. On the leg of the walk heading back home I spotted the launch trail of ULA’s Atlas V catching the rising sun. I wasn’t expecting this launch, but then, I’ve fallen away from tracking launches like I used to. I suppose it’s my old age. I’m too old now and too poor to even think about getting involved in the industry as either an employee or even entertaining the thought of riding on one, such as a SpaceX Crew Dragon.

I guess the meek shall indeed inherit the earth, while the billionaires and trillionaires head into space.