The GOES-16 Satellite takes an 121 Megapixel image of the Earth every 15 minutes. This makes it idealy suited for viewing the contrails of planes. With the frequent imagery you can often see the contrail in the process of forming, like this one which just passed over Seattle (and must have looked quite impressive from the ground)
Here we see the contrail narrow to a point, indicating where the plane is at that time. Since the time is in UTC, it's a pretty easy task to find it in FlightRadar24
Flight ANA173 from Houston to Tokyo (still in the air over the Pacific as I type this). So it's cool to see the scale of the contrail, but another interesting thing is seeing it evolve and move.
That animation goes from 20:30 to 22:45, 2 hours and 15 minutes of the contrail persisting. Clearly it's not dissipating, and it's quite obvious why - it's a cirrus cloud, in the middle of a bunch of other cirrus clouds. If they don't dissipate then why would it?
By 22:00 it's spread out about as much as it's going to and still be recognizable as a contrail.
It's about as wide as the Puget Sound, around three or four miles across.
GOES-16 starts a new era of contrail observations in the US. Contrail season is just starting in Northern California, and I'm looking forward to using GOES-16 to track down a bunch of interesting contrails.