Okaay, I admit I forgot the Earth's rotation too
I'm just trying to understand, not to debunk anything, so bear with me. Help is also appreciated
Ok, so what do we have now - according to OP's graph, a person, standing at sea level would see an object that is 800 km away only when that object
is 43 km high (that would be the lowest end of the plume) as I understand.
The speed of earth's rotation around it's axis at the equator is 40000 km/24 hrs or 462 m/s. This speed at such a high latitude (70 degrees) is
about 150 m/s.
Taking Space Shuttle as a comparison, it climbs to 45 km in about 2 minutes. As intercontinental missile doesn't have to cap acceleration at 3 G's
(for astronauts to survive), probably it makes those 40 km even faster. So, Earth travels about 15 km during those 100 secs.
The distance to the bottom of the plume standing at the sea level and looking straight at the horizon might be somewhere around 750-785 km (depends if
the rocket goes straight up or at the inclination).
I we make an assumption (again) that all the white plume was first stage (as someone said earlier), so it deffinitely extends more than those 40 km
(which we do not see because of earth's curvature)
One more point I'd like to make is the angle we see the top of the white plume at - it's about 10 degrees, according to the altidute of that
mountain (620 m) and distance from the photographer to that mountain (3,6 km).
Main problem here is to find for how long did the first stage rocket burn, only then could we determine how much the Earth has turned and how high the
white plume has ended/how far it was. I'm stumped about the spiral though, so no comments about that.
Also, exact times for the missile launch and the photographs would be nice
I did some graphs and calculations, but can't upload then at the mo' and don't think it's worth it. So no visuals from me
I'm now leaning towards a rocket actually, it's just cool to try to wrap my mind around this, even though I might be completely off.
[edit on 14-12-2009 by ilaruum]