More Spectacular Images from the MUOS-4 Launch

Skywatchers across Central Florida got an unusual view early Wednesday morning in conjunction with the Atlas V launch of the MUOS-4 satellite.

“That wasn’t thunder this AM, Florida: An absolutely stunning MUOS launch!” tweeted photographer Michael Seeley, who shared several images of the launch with Universe Today. Mike is a freelance photographer and works with Spaceflight Insider. You can see more of his imagery at his website.

The pre-dawn light combined with unusual atmospheric conditions produced stunning views both during and well after the launch. The skyshow was visible across a wide area.

“Folks as far south as Miami and up to Jacksonville to the north saw it,” Universe Today’s David Dickinson said. “I even heard kids waiting for the school bus on our street crying out in surprise!”

You can read more about the launch and the mission in our article from Ken Kremer, but see a stunning gallery of images of the unusual cloud formations following the launch below:

A long exposure image of the light trail from the Atlas V launch of the MUOS-4 satellite, as seen from the ITL Causeway. Image used by permission. Credit and copyright: Michael Seeley.
A closeup view of the Atlas V MUOS-4 launch by United Launch Alliance. Image used by permission. Credit and copyright: Michael Seeley.

Below are a group of images and video from UT’s David Dickinson, taken about 100 miles away from Cape Canaveral in Hudson, Florida:

The launch of the MUOS-4 satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida on September 2, 2015 created an unusual noctilucent cloud display, visible even from 100 miles away. Credit and copyright: David Dickinson.
Remaining noctilucent clouds about 25 minutes after the launch of the MUOS-4 satellite on board an Atlas V rocket on September 2, 2015. Image taken from Hudson, Florida, about 100 miles west of Cape Canaveral. Credit and copyright: David Dickinson.
A view from Hudson, Florida, about 100 miles west of Cape Canaveral after the launch of the MUOS-4 Satellite on September 2, 2015. Credit and copyright: David Dickinson.
An Atlas V rocket carrying the MUOS-4 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41, creating a unique light display. Sept. 2, 2015. Credit: ULA.
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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