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I ran across this photo recently, and I was awed by it. What you are seeing is the sky over the Kennedy Space Center vehicle assembly building, as photographed by Susan Poulton one hour after the launch of the space shuttle Atlantic on June 8. The lacy smoke rings overhead were created by the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. Air currents wound the rocket exhaust round and round, then the setting sun lit the entire scene. I’ve never scene a rocket launch, though it’s one of my long-stated goals. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of shuttle launches, but never anything like this. Sometimes it pays to hang around and just wait to see what happens.
—David Schonauer