Spiral Contrails viewed from the International Space Station

Mick West

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Source: https://twitter.com/astro_kimbrough/status/840584517798789120


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So where and what are these contrails? Circular contrails are generally not "airliners", but more likely are military planes, like AWACs.
 
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I checked the planefinder.net playback for that day but didn't find any plane making circles in that area.
 
it was on February 23rd.View attachment 25829
The ISS photo was taken at about 10:10 UTC, half an hour before the Terra satellite image of the area.

I checked the planefinder.net playback for that day but didn't find any plane making circles in that area.

There was an A380 air test from Toulouse just before ISS passed over:
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It was outside the spiral contrail area, but there could be other air tests, which are not on Planefinder.net. Otherwise, there was a lot of regular air traffic over the area, suggesting this was not a military practice.
 
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Comparison of the Google Earth added photo (from the ISS location on 2017-02-23 10:10:20 UTC) with the added Terra satellite image (taken at about 10:40 UTC):
 
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It was outside the spiral contrail area, but there could be other air tests, which are not on Planefinder.net. Otherwise, there was a lot of regular air traffic over the area, suggesting this was not a military practice.

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It's in a relatively empty patch of air.
 
Looks like there are many Airbus test flights near Toulouse, which is the location of Airbus' headquarters and final assembly line for airliners.
 
Whatever it was, it circled there for hours. There are fresh contrails in the orbit's location in the Terra (12:20 UTC) and Suomi NPP (12:45 UTC) images.

I am not sure about the orbit being a perfect circle, however.
 
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