Evolution of Shuttle Trail

As time went on, Discovery's trail became wider, puffier and fainter. The next sequence of pictures shows the evolution of the trail. The bright point near the trail in each picture is the planet Mars.

The first shot is a repeat of one on the previous page. Here the shuttle has "passed" Mars and the trail is quite smooth. Some widening and roughening is visible at the right edge of the picture.

Shuttle passes (10,913 bytes)

Next comes a shot taken about one minute after the previous one. A lot of detail is now visible in the trail. In the original photo, the trail has the appearance of two streaks with the brighter above the dimmer. This view is from almost directly underneath the shuttle's path and thus may be of two trails side by side. Discrete features in the trail were seen to slowly move along it in the direction of the shuttle's motion.

The trail fades (14,076 bytes)

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