SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy flight against the Moon: Impressive photo

Astrophotographer Steven Madow took an impressive photo of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. It flies against the background of the Moon, which gives  the impression that ripples appear on its surface. To make this unique photo, Madow had been preparing for several years and chose a strategic location in a small town near the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A photo of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy flight, which flies against the background of the Moon on December 28, 2023. It was later selected as the “Picture of the Day” by NASA

Already at the end of 2022 and in February 2023, he tried to take a photo, but the result was unsuccessful. But on December 28, 2023, Madow finally got the long-awaited unique shot. 

During planning, he took into account that the Moon was supposed to rise 40 minutes before the launch of the rocket. Using mathematical calculations and software tools such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris, as well as the service, he found the exact location that provided him with the perfect angle for the photo.

Planning the shot on The Photographer’s Ephemeris.
Planning the shot on Flight Club.

An important stage was the calculation of the trajectory of the rocket, which it had never laid before. Madow used a Panasonic LUMIX G9 II camera with a PanaLeica 100-400mm lens to shoot from a height of hundreds of meters. He lowered the exposure for the Moon to create a spectacular silhouette of the rocket. With the help of high-speed camera shooting mode and precise settings, he made an impressive shot.

Another of Steven Madow’s failed shots

His difficulties were highly appreciated: the photo was chosen as the astronomical photo of the day by NASA. The image shows the Falcon Heavy rocket, which participated in the USSF-52 mission and, at the time of the shooting, launched the secret X-37B spaceplane into Earth orbit. This spacecraft, created by Boeing for the US military, performs various tasks and technological experiments during long orbital flights.

Animation of the flight of the Falcon Heavy SpaceX rocket on the background of the Moon

Earlier, we reported on how the wedding couple took a photo against the background of the launch of a SpaceX rocket.

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