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Uploaded on Feb 14, 2010
Solar Dynamics Observatory Launch, Feb 11, 2010 HD VERSION A sun dog is a prismatic bright spot in the sky caused by sun shining through ice crystals. The Atlas V rocket exceeded the speed of sound in this layer of ice crystals, making the shock wave visible from the ground. The announcer can be heard in the video saying, "The vehicle is now supersonic."
Before I made this trip I read some advice for photographers shooting rockets that said if it's your first launch, be sure to watch the actual event, don't lock your eyes on your camera the whole time. You don't want to miss actually experiencing it. That's why the camera doesn't track the rocket very well. I was trying to watch the actual thing. I understand that this infuriates a lot of people. I can't feel all that bad about it considering in that whole row of professional photographers with giant expensive cameras I was the only one that got this on HD video. I'd loaned my big tripod to a friend with a DSLR and I was just using a monopod for this, leaning it back as the rocket ascended. I was watching that sun dog, though, and framed it up on purpose.