Ship Wakes

Stern-Wake Dump, Egypt

Stern-Wake Dump, Egypt

Flight 41G; 33.5N, 27.1E, 11:45:32 GMT, 7 Oct 1984

The 41 G mission of the Challenger provided the opportunity for the crew to observe the reaction in the sun's glitter pattern of a wake produced when a ship has cleaned her tanks or dumped her bilges.
    The best view came on 7 October as the shuttle orbited over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Among the eddies, shears, and usual stern wakes, a wake far brighter than usual stood out in the sun's specular pattern. Part of the wake was bent around an eddy some 45 kilometers behind the ship. Just seconds later, as the central part of the sun's glitter pattern moved off to the east, the same smooth wake became dark blue. The sun was no longer reflecting from the smooth, mirror-like wake directly into the lens of the camera.

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