Aug 1, 2009
Iridescent Sky featured” />
This very cool shot was captured in Southern California, not far from Vandenburg Air Force Base. A Minotaur rocket had launched just about an hour before the photo was taken, leaving behind a very photogenic plume of smoke. The contrail shows amazing rainbow-colored flashes picked up from the setting sun, even though it was captured at night. This usually happens when clouds are high in the upper atmosphere; they reflect sunlight while the lower clouds appear dark, resulting in a lustrous iridescent sky.
There are hundreds of similar images available on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website, too, like this one taken on September 28, 2005, near the same air base. In it, the planet Venus is clearly visible.
Source 1, 2