My Favorite Photos of Stuff: 2016 IMAGES by MICHAEL SEELEY / we report space

Cover image: The first sunrise of 2016, photographed from Satellite Beach, Florida.

This is a collection of stuff photographed by me during 2016.

January 20: Sunset, reflected in the waters of Lake Washington, seen from Melbourne, Florida.

March 4: SES-9 Falcon9 launch by SpaceX

153 seconds: SES9 Falcon9 by SpaceX

March 22: OA-6 AtlasV launch by United Launch Alliance

163 seconds: OA-6 AtlasV by United Launch Alliance
April 1: Friday Night Flight, Melbourne Air and Space Show

April 8: CRS-8 Falcon9 by SpaceX

April 12: The return of the Falcon9 first stage

As of 11pm on Monday night (April 11), no one knew for sure when the #SpaceX drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” carrying the #CRS8 #Falcon9 would arrive in port. Forums, Twitter, the SpaceX reddit page and Facebook were all full of theories that predicted arrivals as early as midnight and as late as mid-day Tuesday (April 12). I arrived at Jetty Park at around 11:45pm and found a small group of people already assembled, including ever-talented (and always entertaining) colleagues Julian Leek, Jeff Seibert and Lane Hermann. It was a lovely night, so I set up a camera looking east down the channel and started shooting star trails. Someone had a marine band radio and at around 12:15am we heard the news we were all eagerly awaiting: the captain of the tugboat Elsbeth III told the port pilot boat that they expected to be at “the dogleg” at around 1:30am, after some personnel loading and unloading. The tugboat captain also declared via radio that it was “the prettiest night in the history of the world”. While perhaps not the prettiest ever (in the history of the world), it was most certainly a great night to be standing under the stars, waiting for the first stage of a Falcon9 rocket to come home. About this image: I started the time lapse at 1:02am and let it run until 1:49am. My settings through most of the lapse were ISO400, f4 with an exposure time of 30 seconds. The whole thing is shot through an EF17-40L lens, set to 17mm. As the “OCISLY” carrying the Falcon9 entered the channel, I adjusted the settings to ISO1000 and an exposure of 6 seconds for the last frames in order to bring out just a bit of detail in the rocket – that’s the staggered white line curving around the entrance to the channel. I included one more frame, taken 2 minutes after I stopped the lapse (at 1:47am), to show the lit Falcon9 separate from the streak it created as it moved into the channel. The purple lights are from the tugboat Elsbeth III, and the green and white lines are from the pilot’s boat leaving the channel and there was at least one more tugboat that exited the channel before the rocket entered the port.
May 1: Sunrise, Cocoa Beach Pier

May 2: Storms over Central Florida

This is a composite of 8 frames. The first 5 frames are 25 second exposures and the last 3 are 30 second exposures, spanning from 9:03pm to 9:24pm. This storm is far to the east of where I was shooting from, most likely it was south of Kissimmee, so 60-ish miles away. The swirls of color are from an airboat on Lake Washington waiting for someone to show up with a trailer. When the tallest bolt of lightning hit, the boat was circling in the water in front of me with his spotlight on so I couldn't really throw out the frame. At first I was really vexed, but now I'm sort of amused by it. I was hoping the storm would head my way, but it just sort of broke up and in the end, I didn't even see any rain here in Melbourne.

May 5-6: JCSAT-14 Falcon9 launch by SpaceX

166 seconds + star trail composite: JCSAT-14 Falcon9 launch by SpaceX

May 9: JCSAT-14 Falcon9 by SpaceX; return of the first stage

May 14: JCSAT-14 Falcon9 by SpaceX; first stage, on the move

May 27: Thaicom-8 Falcon9 launch by SpaceX

This is a composite of 2 images taken of the #Thaicom8 #Falcon9 rocket launch by #SpaceX at approximately 5:39pm (ET) on May 27, 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This shows the first 97 seconds of the launch. The first image is the rocket lifting off, a 45 seconds exposure and the second image is a 52 second exposure. The break in the streak is of course where the first exposure ended and the second one started. Other technical details: It was shot at 17mm, at ISO400 and f8 through two ND filters, a 10-stop and a 3 stop.
June 2: Thaicom-8 Falcon9 by SpaceX; first stage returns

June 8: NROL-37 DeltaIV Heavy by United Launch Alliance

June 11: NROL-37 DeltaIV Heavy launch by United Launch Alliance

The #DeltaIV Heavy NROL37 rocket, launched by United Launch Alliance on June 11, 2016 seen from 300 feet away.
July 1: Lightning over the Indian River Lagoon
July 3: Sunset over Lake Washington, seen from Melbourne, Florida

July 18: CRS-9 Falcon9 launch by SpaceX

This is a single, 483 second exposure of the Falcon9 CRS-9 rocket, launched (and landed!) at 12:45a on July 18, 2016 from CCAFS by Elon Musk and SpaceX. The streak to the left is the launch streak and then the straight line to the right shows the landing of the first stage of the Falcon9 rocket approximately 9 minutes after launch. Most launch and landing streaks are a composite; this is a single image. This photo was chosen as NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) for July 21, 2016. Additionally, this photo was published in the November, 2016 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
August 1: me, a flashlight and the Milky Way
August 4: 170 seconds, JCSAT-16 Falcon launch by SpaceX

August 19: AFSPC-6 DeltaIV launch by United Launch Alliance

Sequence spans 6 seconds, from ignition to liftoff
September 23: Sunset over Lake Washington, seen from Melbourne, Florida
October 14: Wyclef Jean at FIT Homecoming Fest
Wyclef Jean performed as part of the Florida Institute of Technology Homecoming Fest in downtown Melbourne on October 14, 2016.
October 16: Hunter's Supermoon from Satellite Beach, FL

November 6: President Obama visits Kissimmee, Florida

President Barak Obama and Stevie Wonder were in Kissimmee, Florida on November 6, 2016 to rally in support of Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Florida Senatorial candidate Patrick Murphy. According to the US Secret Service, 11,000 people attended the rally held at Osceola County Stadium.

November 19: GOES-R AtlasV launch by United Launch Alliance

November 19: United Launch Alliance successfully launched the GOES-R satellite for NOAA at 6:42pm (ET), the end of the hour long launch window. This is a 153 second exposure of the rocket.
November 23: Sunset over Lake Washington, seen from Melbourne, Florida
November 28: 162 second (single) exposure of the International Space Station passing overhead

December 7: WGS-8 DeltaIV launch by United Launch Alliance

WGS-8 Delta IV rocket by United Launch Alliance, burning off hydrogen fumes before lift-off, seen from pad (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 37). This sequence of 8 photos spans just over 3 seconds.
December 7: WGS-8 DeltaIV launch by United Launch Alliance, seen from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

December 18: EchoStar-XIX AtlasV launch by United Launch Alliance

Ghostly watchers, captured from Jetty Park beach

Created By
Michael Seeley


All images copyright Michael Seeley. For information, visit

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