Re: Vandenberg Minuteman II Launch Observed

Jim Scotti (jscotti@LPL.Arizona.EDU)
Sat, 2 Oct 1999 22:24:22 -0700 (MST)

I got to see the launch from Kitt Peak.  Launch time was supposed to be
7:01 and about 7:02:40 I saw the plume rise over the horizon.  It was
bright golden colored and narrow.  I watched in binocs as I took some
pictures and saw the plume start to widen as it rose behind a thin cloud
layer.  It continued to rise and turned to a bright white - the rocket was
sharp and bright with a large white plume primarily over an arc almost 360
degrees around with a sharper brighter portion about 90 degrees wide and a
fainter component about 180 degrees wide.  It seemed to slowly climb to a
maximum altitude of maybe 25 or 30 degrees before suddenly disappearing. 
The plume stayed visible for some time.  The upper plume faded more
quickly while the lower dispersed in the high altitude winds but stayed
much more visible, even as I went inside (had to start observing) about
10-15 minutes after its appearance.  All in all a great show! 


On Sat, 2 Oct 1999, Jake Rees wrote:

> Well, I just hope those in the US southwest heeded Brian Webb's launch alert
> and looked.  It launched just after 7 PM PDT and all expectations were met.
> I'm not going to try to describe it as I don't think I can find the words
> right now.  One reason for posting is to alert all, whether you saw it or
> not to keep an eye on your local TV news if in California.  Even if
> elsewhere, video of it will probably show up on CNN, BBC, American CBS, NBC,
> and ABC TV network national news shows.  I already saw on my big satellite
> dish a feed of it on ABC's news feed channel.  I also videotaped it and had
> alerted local TV stations who may have known already or maybe not.  But they
> were told and I imagine there is plenty of video of it and still pictures.
> Dave Ransom (STS Plus creator) e-mailed me that he saw it from Sedona,
> Arizona.  I'm sure he won't mind if I post it here:
> < Jake,
> Tonight's launch was clearly visible from Sedona in Northern Arizona.
> Spectacular! We could follow the missile through cutoff and the lower
> portion of the contrail was still visible at 19:15 MST=PDT. Vicki had her
> aircraft scanner on and the pilots went bananas ... One pilot even knew
> what was going on, somewhat unusual, but Albuquerque Center didn't have a
> clue.
> DAVE >

Jim Scotti                              
Lunar & Planetary Laboratory 
University of Arizona                520/621-2717 
Tucson, AZ 85721 USA