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Fuel Cloud of Ariane 5 Launch

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Date:12.12.2017 Time:18:53 - 18:56 UT
Exposure:4 x 8 s Field:73o x 53o
Camera:Nikon D3 Optics:f=24 mm, 1/1.4
Place:Tübingen, Germany Observer:Till Credner

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ESA's Ariane 5 rocket was launched on 12 december 2017 at 18:36 UT from Kourou in French Guyana. It carried four Galileo satellites into orbit. 17 minutes after launch, a conspicious small and elongated cloud raced all over the sky of southern Germany. Probably it is a fuel cloud of a separated rocket stage from the Ariane 5. The above image is a combination of four 8 s exposures 50 s apart. A small dashed trail is visible in the cloud, which might be the rotating rocket remnant.

Meanwhile, the observation and identification was confirmed by the netherlands SatTrackCam.
See also:
- article in the german magazine Der Spiegel
- the time lapse of the images.