Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama

SpaceX Starlink Launch
30 Aug. 2022

This California SpaceX/Starlink launch occurred at about 10:30 pm, so it was not a promising launch to watch (unlike a sunset launch). Night launches are very challenging to photograph because you have a bright target initially, but have two virtually invisible ones after the first stage shuts down and second stage fires. And this all happens as the rocket is moving rapidly across the sky, making it hard to keep a telephoto view on the targets.

For my own future reference, I shot a wide-angle real-time video of the launch. This video is synchronized to the SpaceX launch video soundtrack to provide a reference to what is happening. The visual coverage starts a few seconds after the actual launch occurs. This was shot from Point Vicente, Palos Verdes, which is on the coast of southern California (southeast of the Vandenberg SFB launch site).

Numerous planes seem to parallel the rocket flight path. Perhaps some people were trying to get a good view of the launch.

1st stage initial view, looking towards Vandenberg SFB.


1st stage near the end of its burn.


Near the end of the show, the second stage can be seen downrange, appearing between the tail of Scorpius and the teapot asterism of Sagittarius. The bright orange spot is the entry burn of the 1st stage. The actual landing was not visible as it is too far away and below the horizon.

Photo info
  • Date/Time: 30 Aug 2022
  • Location: Point Vicente, Palos Verdes, CA
  • Cameras: Sony A7s, Nikon D600, Nikon D850