Photographer captures mystery cloud - Tucson News Now

Photographer captures mystery cloud

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Dennis Mammana was on a mission Friday night to snap a few aurora photos when he took this shot near Fairbanks, Alaska. He says the strange cloud appeared and slowly faded within an hour.

After a few days without an answer, a Netherlands satellite watcher, Marco Langbroek, says the cloud came from a Delta 4 rocket launch carrying a GPS satellite.  The interesting thing is the rocket launch wasn't from a nearby research range that frequently sends up rockets to study auroras.  Instead, it was from Cape Canaveral, where a Delta 4 rocket carrying a GPS satellite was launched that night.

Even though the launch was thousands of miles away, the fuel dump was at an altitude over 12,000 miles, so it was visible in the low West Alaska sky.

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