Ed's Observed Launches
These pages contain descriptions and pictures of Vandenberg AFB Launches which I have witnessed myself
2003 September 10, 4:31 AM
I got out of bed at 4AM, and the Livermore valley was socked in. I checked the current weather at Tracy, and was glad to see fair skies. So I made the 10 minute trip over the hill, got to an observing spot off of I-580. I setup my digital camera on my tripod , pointed it south and waited for 4:31 AM. Right on time, the missile was visible in the south, shooting up at an angle, apparently heading straight for the full moon. I took a series of 4 exposures over a minute and a half span. Unfortunately my digital camera can only take a maximum exposure of 15 seconds. Then it is busy a few seconds, writing to memory, before the next exposure can be taken. I took three 15-second exposures, then panned the camera right and got off one more 15-second exposure before the final stage burned out. I merged the first 3 exposures together, then combined them with the last. I think next time, I'll use my 35mm SLR on bulb setting so I can get a continuous track. All in all, I was fairly happy with the observation, except that the full moon washed out the night sky.
1372x540 pixels (336K bytes), 3434x1353 pixels (1.68M bytes), Starry Night Pro Map
Note: If you look closely at the lower right portion of the large image (to the lower right of the Moon), shining through the thin clouds is a little orange dot -- that is Mars.
For obtaining Vandenberg AFB Launch Alert notices by e-mail, visit Brian Webb's web-site.
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