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Back to Los Angeles | by ilmungo
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Back to Los Angeles

I was always fascinated by L.A.'s sunsets, the colors being incredibly vivid and spectacular, almost like an idea of a sunset. One might say, as a sunset would look in a big budget hollywood movie, when nature is supposed to underscore an important moment in the script. I found it funny that the sky of Los Angeles looks so, well... L.A.!

 

Then I remembered reading that those dazzling colors are actually the product of high pollution: all those chemicals dispersed in the atmosphere reflect the tangential light of the setting sun in unexpectedly beautiful ways. Sunsets lost a bit of their poetry, maybe, but remained spectacular still, and very much a signature of L.A. for me.

 

So it was very befitting that last night, roughly twenty-four hours after coming back to Los Angeles after three months in Europe, I looked up at the sky to see a very puzzling and somewhat troubling phenomenon: what looked like a huge comet flaring up in sparkles, with a gigantic tail, and leaving behind swirly trails, colored of toxic purples and greens. It looked apocalyptic, dangerous, fascinating and scary and I thought, in rapid succession: "Is that what a nuclear missile attack would look like from the ground?", and "I'm back in L.A. ...".

 

I rushed in, set up the tripod as fast as I could, hoping the trails wouldn't vanish too quickly, and took three pictures before everything dissipated in a less-than-astonishing mist. This is the best one.

 

Turns out, it was just the Minotaur Rocket being launched into space. Apparently successfully. They say the "show" could be seen as far as Arizona, Nevada and Utah. I read the satellite that it put into orbit is fitted with two instruments -- an ion gauge and an atomic oxygen sensor. Now, doesn't that just sound like 1950s B-movie pseudo-science lingo?

 

And now, I will resume the slow stream of pictures taken in Europe over the summer...

 

Oh, and the picture Improves drastically when viewed large.

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Taken on September 23, 2005