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Originally posted by JimOberg
Originally posted by smurfy
It's as Jim says, 'stuff'" likely ice, as the narrator also says, flying off the external tank. The external tank and shuttle had parted company anyway in the period of your concern. You can see even the wavy engine exhausts are still subject to air flow anyway.
It's even weirder to see this during night launches, as the engine plume shock wave hits the thin atmosphere and creates a circular rippling fiery shock wave around the tail, until shutdown. Then all the other plume effects are even starker in the dark as they glow from super-high molecular impact.