Twilight Contrails

The photo above showing a stunning prairie sunset and a jumble of contrails checkering the twilight sky was taken from my home in DeKalb County, IllinoisPhotographer: Claude Oesterreicher

Several of these contrails are from B-52 aircraft, which typically fly between 30,000 and 50,000 ft (9,144 – 15,240 m). I often see them and their attendant contrails late in the day heading back to their base in South Dakota. I’ve counted as many as 22 flying at the same time. On this early fall evening, the upper air winds were light so the contrails had been stationary for more than an hour. The profusion of trails and the amount of sky they cover speaks both to the number of jet aircraft streaking across the midsection of the US on any given day and to the availability of moisture aloft on this particular day. Photo taken in September 2006.

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Contrails from a Qantas Boeing 747-400

Contrails from a Qantas Boeing 747-400 as it passes over Moscow at 11,000 m (36,000 ft). Photographer Sergey Kustov

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