A rare observation in this image is the heat distorting the atmosphere behind the engines and in front of the rocket can be seen several pressure waves disturbing the atmosphere, illuminated by the reflected light of the sun off the moon.
I was hunting exhaustively for a proper location to photograph this image. Discouraged time and time again by no trespassing signs, refusals to access people's yards and just the sub freezing temperatures of a Florida winter I finally landed the perfect spot. I waited 5 hours for the 7:04 expected launch time but it came and went with only a thread of hope that maybe they would launch again at 9:02 so I packed everything up repositioned again for an attempt at 902 launch. SpaceX was completely silent. No commentary the whole night as to whether fueling was underway, weather conditions were appropriate or if any technical issues had sabotaged the launch. The only indication came at about 8:30 when fueling vapers could be seen and then at exactly 9:02 liftoff without any fanfare at all from SpaceX, only the cheering crowds that surrounded me and then the cheers started growing louder and louder as the rocket arched to the southeast and begin heading towards the Moon and it became obvious that it was going to pass right near the top of the moon. This had always been my expectation at 7:02 but 2 hours later I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to capture it. But the more it began to look possible, the more I began shuttling up and down the grassy yard I was in looking for the right angle to put the rocket right in front of the Moon. This image was photographed at 9:03 on January 18, 2022.
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