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Corona Borealis,
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch

Posted: 19 March 2024

Sunday, 17 March 2024, the sky was cloudy. With rain in the forecasts again, I put the Dome Cover ON. When I went to the observatory there was evidence that there had been some light rain overnight.

I woke up early Monday morning, 18 March, and noticed that the sky was mostly clear. I took this iPhone 15 Pro Max photo of the constellation of Corona Borealis using the Camera app (Night Mode, 3 seconds, 2X lens, slightly cropped). It is expected that the star T Corona Borealis (currently Mag. +10 and not visible in the image) will go nova sometime in 2024 and become visible to the naked eye.


Monday afternoon there was rumbling of thunder, but only a brief rainshower (0.02").

Monday night an hour after sunset, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The western sky was mostly clear, providing a nice view of the launch. The first photo below shows the rocket heading towards the planet Mercury. The 1st stage burn is separated from the 2nd stage burn at the low end of the contrail. Times are shown. Local sunset in Arizona was at 1832 MST.

193117 MST (1X lens)

193205 MST (5X lens)

At 0:35 in this video the 1st stage boostback burn using 3 of the 9 rocket engines is visible as the 2nd stage continues on its way.

193235 MST (1X lens)

Click to view video

193407 MST (1X lens)

At the start of this video is the 1st stage re-entry burn using 3 rocket engines. It is the red glow just above the horizon near center.

193418 MST (1X lens)

Click to view video

Photos and videos were taken with an Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max using the Camera app. Photos used Night Mode (3 seconds).

To view larger versions of the videos, click these links:

193235 MST

193418 MST

An excellent article describing the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch timeline is here: Re-entry Burns of Falcon 9.

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