A Sunlit Contrail Viewed From the Side

Mick West

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Staff member
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Taken at 16:53 PST (00:53 Nov 19 UTC) from Shingle Springs

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The plane is Cathy Pacific Cargo 2081, about 110 miles from my viewpoint.

It's interesting because the plane is at 36,000 feet, which makes the view angle under 4 degrees, so I'm practically viewing the contrail from edge on. I shot video (real time)

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EXHNtAz8qI


It's interesting that you can see the trail first dip down, and then gradually rise up again. Here the red line indicated the path of the plane:
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Here it's adjusted so the flight path is level:
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And finally scaled vertically 10x, so you can see the curving path the exhaust takes.
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