Sunshine and SpaceX Satellites

One of the best parts of being at sea is having a clear horizon – especially when the sun finally comes out after a week of clouds! We woke this morning (or were in the middle of working, in some people’s cases) to a beautiful clear sunrise. The whole day has been filled with blue on blue, giving us a boost of energy to finish our cruise out strong.

The SpaceX Iridium satellite launches into the blue (top right)

Clear skies were perfect timing for something else: a front-row view of the SpaceX Iridium satellite launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base this afternoon (here’s a link describing it). At 1:25 p.m., in the midst of our usual afternoon MOCNESS deployment, everyone emerged from the ship’s depths and spread out on the back deck to get a glimpse of the launch. Pretty soon we saw a small fireball shooting up into the sky, followed  by a smoky white trail. Although we are a hundred miles from land, the clear skies gave us the perfect view.

First glimpse of the SpaceX Iridium satellite after its launch from Vandenberg AFB

Sunshine held strong through the evening, when a large pod of dolphins emerged to feed and jump near the ship. They hung around for about 20 minutes, giving us some good shots. Here’s hoping the clear skies hold so we can finally get more satellite images of the ocean filament we are studying!

Dolphin acrobatics
A pod of dolphins does sunset backflips


Posted by: Laura Lilly, SIO

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