SpaceX's rocket launch of 58 Starlink internet satellites on Saturday left behind a jaw-dropping, rainbow-colored cloud in the Florida sky

On June 13, 2020, SpaceX's Starlink 8 mission delivered a ninth batch of radiant Internet satellites into orbit, leaving a stunning blue rainbow cloud in the sky over the Florida coast.
SpaceX on Twitter
SpaceX launched dozens of new Starlink satellites that provide the Internet on Saturday morning, along with some Planet Labs imaging spacecraft.
The Falcon 9 rocket, which launched the mission into orbit, launched shortly before dawn from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
As a result, the rocket's expanding plume caught the sun's rays in the morning and created a huge and spectacular multi-colored glowing cloud.
People all the way to Alabama saw the blue colored cloud with a rainbow of colors and took photos and videos of the phenomenon.
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The best time to see a rocket launch is at dawn or dawn when the darkness covers the ground but the sunlight is still high in the sky. At such moments, billowing exhaust gases from rocket engines can catch the sun high above the earth and create spectacular glowing clouds.
On Saturday morning at 5:21 a.m.CET, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket, which launched 58 Internet-radiant Starlink satellites together with three of Planet Labs' new high-resolution SkySat Earth observation spaceships.
The so-called Starlink 8 mission was the eighth batch of SpaceX's newest Starlink satellites after two previous experimental launches and marks the company's 540th satellite to be launched into orbit.
It is also one of three Starlink missions that the company plans to fly in less than three weeks to work towards providing a global internet service before the end of 2020. (So ​​if SpaceX can find an affordable way to connect users to its network, founder Elon Musk recently hinted at.)
As the missile rose from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and over the Atlantic, the phenomenon of glowing clouds developed, and people from several states were nearby to document it in photos and videos with breathtaking effects.
"An epic show on Florida's space coast this morning!" Photographer John Pisani tweeted shortly after launch, sharing two stunning long exposure photos he had taken of the rocket that was launching into orbit.
@ Johnpisaniphoto
An epic show on Florida's Space Coast this morning! @SpaceX # falcon9 #starlink @planetlabs @elonmusk
12:51 p.m. - June 13, 2020
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993 people talk about it
John Kraus, a space photographer, recorded a time-lapse movie of the entire launch for SuperCluster and uploaded it to Twitter.
The clip compresses approximately eight minutes of launch in 15 seconds:
John Kraus
@ Johnkrausphotos
Time lapse of the breathtaking launch of Falcon 9 before dawn from Cape Canaveral.

: I for @SuperclusterHQ
2:34 p.m. - June 13, 2020
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SuperCluster, a space media company, has tweeted one of Kraus' stills and shows how the expanding exhaust plume glowed in a rainbow of colors at dawn before dawn.
Super cluster

@ SuperclusterHQ
A shining sight over Cape Canaveral when #SpaceX successfully launched 58 Starlink satellites and three SkySats from @ planetlabs to orbit a reusable Falcon 9 rocket

: @johnkrausphotos for Supercluster
12:48 p.m. - June 13, 2020
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Jamie Groh, a teacher and part-time reporter at, also shared a photo of the take-off before dawn - one that she had taken 140 miles from the missile's launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
"I'm pretty sure that all of my neighbors wondered why a crazy woman is screaming outside at 5am," said Groh in her post.
Jamie Groh
@ AlteredJamie
WOAH! A # SpaceX # Starlink start into astronomical twilight is absolutely the BEST way to start your day. I'm pretty sure all of my neighbors were wondering why a crazy woman is screaming at 5 a.m.

Uhhh #LookUp
SpaceX # Falcon9 & 2nd tier MVAC from 140 miles away!
12:40 p.m. - June 13, 2020
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159 people talk about it
The start flag was so bright and big that you could see it as far as Daleville, Alabama, wrote Twitter user Chance Belloise.
High-altitude winds finally blew around the expanding exhaust pipe into a meandering cloud, creating a snake-like pattern in the sky, as shown in an image tweeted by photographer Greg Diesel Walck.
Greg Diesel Walck
@ GregDieselPhoto
Noctilucent Cloud from @SpaceX starts this morning across Florida at Ft Myers. @SPACEdotcom @tariqjmalik #spacex #nasa #florida
7:46 PM - June 13, 2020
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See Greg Diesel Walck's other tweets
Starlink-8 is not the first time that SpaceX's rocket launches, which are now the most common of all US-based aerospace companies, are producing a widely acclaimed light show.
Similarly, after SpaceX supplied a spaceship to supply the International Space Station with cargo kites in June 2018, its rocket launch cloud seized the light at high altitude to create an astonishingly glowing "dragon's tail".
And on December 22, 2017, SpaceX launched 10 Iridium NEXT satellites over the California coast, arguably the rocket company's most beautiful launch scene.
Why rocket exhaust clouds can look so beautiful
spacex falcon 9 rocket launch nrol 76 usaf 34006001860_8c45f28e69_o
SpaceX / Flickr (public domain)
When rockets launch, they leave a trail of hot exhaust, also known as a feather. The appearance of the cloud depends on the fuel, in the case of SpaceX it is RP-1 - a high quality kerosene - which is burned by liquid oxygen.
Falcon 9 rockets can send payloads more than 250 miles above Earth, beyond the edge of space and to where the space station orbits our planet.
A rocket initially leaves a relatively thin cloud. But as it goes higher and higher towards space, the air pressure gets lower and lower. About a dozen miles above sea level, the air pressure is below 1% of the air pressure on the earth's surface, causing the hot start flags to expand dramatically.
If the atmospheric conditions are right, these billowing feathers can allow water from the air to condense, which then freezes into tiny ice crystals. And if the timing is right, these crystals can reflect sunlight like a mirror from far above the horizon and shine it in a dark place before or after sunset (at least until high winds blow around the cloud) and ice).
The phenomenon is known to scientists as noctilucent or "noctilucent" clouds that form naturally and most often over the Arctic and Antarctic.
Watch the following video from Scott Manley, an astrophysicist and popular YouTuber who uses the SpaceX mission in December 2017 as an example.
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