I’ve just returned home from my spring vacation, which took me to several states and cities in the Midwest where it felt like anything BUT spring. It was quite chilly for the most part with lots of cold, gray, and rainy days when I had to remind myself that it was already late March, since most of the trees were still bare and the ground was covered in brown leaves. Not to say that I’m complaining though! While it was nice to return home to sunny days where the recent rains in Florida had replaced our own wintry foliage with lush greens and azaleas in full bloom, I’m a former Midwesterner who actually misses the change of seasons. We’ve had a longer and much colder winter than normal this year too, and unless it continues we’ll be well into the 80’s and 90’s before too long,
The warmer temperatures in Florida now also means one less delay factor to deal with when NASA is on a tight launch schedule for the remaining Space Shuttle missions. I’m also fortunate enough to live in an area close enough to the Kennedy Space Center where one merely has to step outside the front door to get a pretty good view of most launches when the weather permits. Nothing is more spectacular in my opinion, than a night launch, and I was saddened as I watched the final nighttime launch in February. Technically that was the last night launch.
Around 6:21 on Monday morning however, my reluctant return to the normal schedule of getting up before dawn was not quite as brutal as it might have been. This time my reward for not giving in to the snooze button was this:
Not only did I catch the brilliant liftoff just as I was racing out the door to drive the offspring to school, but thanks to the timing of a launch that took place both during the morning before the Last Quarter moon, and just as the sun was gradually rising, for the entire drive home I was treated to an array of colors and transformative images like the one above. When I got home I had just enough time to grab my camera and get a few shots of the end of the show (above) before the contrails disappeared altogether.
Regardless of whatever weather one might prefer, couldn’t have asked for a better way to say it: