Contrail Shadow Over Siberia

November 11, 2004

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Provided by: Eberhard Frank
Summary authors & editors: Eberhard Frank; Jim Foster

The above photo was taken from a window on a commercial jet flight from Beijing, China to Frankfurt, Germany, and shows the shadow of the jet's contrail on the ground below. This contrail shadow was visible for much of the flight, which occurred on September 12, 2004. I took this picture about 3 hours after take off, somewhere over Siberia, approximately 11:00 a.m. local time. Note the bright spot at the head of the shadow. This may result from the opposition effect, which is caused by the reduced visibility of shadows near the antisolar point -- point opposite the Sun. However, if the surface is moist, this patch of light could be a heillgenschein, produced from backscatter of light in water drops. The meandering river, across the center of the photo, is possibly a tributary of the Ob River system.

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