Aircraft Dissipation Trails
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Aircraft Dissipation Trails

February 7, 2007

This image of aircraft dissipation trails over the southern United States was captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on January 29, 2007. The dissipation trails in the image are the clear lines and patches in the cloud bank. A dissipation trail, sometimes called a "distrail" is the opposite of an airplane condensation trail, more familiarly known as a "contrail".

Distrails are the clearly delineated lanes that form behind aircraft flying in a thin cloud layer. The heat exhaust created by the combustion of the aircraft's fuel can sometimes evaporate the clouds. The phenomenon is fairly rare.

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