This is the graceful arc of a rocket trail. This particular trail is from the Atlas V 401 rocket that took the first of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K (TDRS-K—which is so close to “TARDIS” I had to point it out!) into orbit yesterday. In case the name didn’t already give it away, the satellites provide NASA with “tracking, telemetry, command, and high-bandwidth data return services” according to a NASA press release.
Astronomy Photo of the Day: 01/31/13 – TDRS-K spacecraft launch
1. 31. 13 by Joshua Filmer