2008 December 8
The 2004 July 21 test launch of a Peacekeeper missile from Vandenberg AFB is captured in this cropped image from a time exposure. The vehicle was launched from a silo at north base and sent eight unarmed warheads on a ballistic trajectory to the central Pacific. This photo was taken from a hill 105 statute miles (169 kilometers) east-southeast of the silo (assuming the vehicle was launched from silo LF-02).
The streaks are star trails caused by the Earth's rotation. The bright streak just to the right of the missile trail was caused by the bright star Arcturus.
The clouds near the top of the trail are either smoke puffs or venting from the missile around the time of stage 3 ignition. The clouds look diffuse because they were apparently dispersed by very high-altitude winds. Their bluish color is real and not an artifact.
The sky's orange cast is due to light pollution from nearby and distant city lights.
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