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I was taking long-exposure shots of tonight's SpaceX launch and noticed these swirling like maneuvers when I zoomed-in:

Are both stages making a roll or something?

Separation

Separation

Stage-1

stage1

Stage-2

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about the arcs, or the zigzags? I assume the latter are vibrations of your camera mount. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Jul 18 '16 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ I am talking about the zigzags and they are not coming from the vibration of the mount. That is what I thought 1st, but check the 1st picture the stars does not do same movement. And also I used a programmable remote control to take 8seconds long shots continuously, this much vibration wasnt possible. $\endgroup$ – dvdmn Jul 18 '16 at 5:19
  • $\begingroup$ Look closely. The stars in the first image do show a elongation in the vertical direction. Their size is comparable to the amplitude if the apparent movement of the 1st stage $\endgroup$ – oefe Jul 18 '16 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ well, stars move across the sky... what you see is normal for 8 seconds photo.. $\endgroup$ – dvdmn Jul 18 '16 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ This is definitely the camera shaking. For the stars it is not visible because they are much fainter. Actually, the bright star at the very bottom of the first picture shows the same movement. If your first or second stage starts to oscillate like this, you are not going to space today. $\endgroup$ – asdfex Jul 18 '16 at 11:54
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Here's another photo, taken from Reddit. enter image description here

It's virtually certain that what you saw was camera shake. There's no way that the rocket would have such motion, it would seriously degrade the performance of the rocket.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was alone and away from camera, didnt want to shake it. the only other explanation could be wind. But I have to agree. that much movement at that speed cant be good. $\endgroup$ – dvdmn Jul 19 '16 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ Wind would make perfect sense. You can see that it picked up with time, dropping suddenly, etc, all characteristics of wind. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jul 19 '16 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ well I guess I can say the photo has some unique character :) it is not a scientific photo anyway $\endgroup$ – dvdmn Jul 19 '16 at 12:09

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