A glowing lightshow in the sky Wednesday night was actually a dumping of waste from the International Space Station. Apparently it’s not uncommon for jettisoned waste to light up like this. While orbiting the Earth, John Glenn reported seeing ‘fireflies’ which turned out to be jettisoned urine. When their source was determined, they were re-named ‘Constellation Urion’. From Space.com:
The light show Wednesday was aided by an unusually large amount of water being dumped all at once – about 150 pounds (68 kg), said NASA spokeswoman Kylie Clem. Discovery had just undocked from the International Space Station the day before, and had not been able to unload waste water during the 10-day visit…
Abe Megahed, photographed the tail at 9:40 p.m. EDT (0140 GMT) Wednesday from Madison, Wisconsin.
“I just watched the shuttle and station flyover (8:40 PM CST 9/9/09) and was surprised to see that the shuttle was sporting a massive curved plume,” he wrote. “What could it be? Something venting? An OMS burn? RCS thrusters? A massive, record breaking urine dump?”