Contrails Above an Autumn Landscape

November 14, 2003


Provided and copyright by: Kevin Ambrose
Summary authors & editors: Kevin Ambrose

This impressive display of contrails occurred in the sky over Oakton, Virginia on October 25, 2003, near the peak of the fall colors. Contrails are condensation trails left behind from jet aircraft exhausts. Several factors came together to make this contrail display possible: 1) A moist upper atmosphere preserved the contrails, keeping them from evaporating; 2) Upper level winds blew in the same direction as the contrails, which kept them relatively straight; and 3) Numerous pilots flew parallel routes. A wide angle lens was used to photograph as much of the sky as possible.

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