Monday, September 23rd 2019, 6:15 pm - Australian photographer Michael Marston recently captured a series of spectacular images that quickly went viral online.
The plane seen in the photos is a Qatar Airways Boeing 777 and it looks like it's painting rainbows in the sky.
While some people have wondered if the images are photoshopped, Marston insists the images are legit and says he has the raw files to prove it.
"I go to a lot of trouble to keep my aerospace images real in a world full of fakes," he tells The Weather Network via email.
"Every Moon and solar shot is shown as it happened."
Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg says there's a simple explanation behind the phenomenon.
"It occurs when moist air from an airplane's exhaust cools in the upper levels of the troposphere, forming ice crystals."
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Sonnenburg says the tiny crystals act as prisms that reflect and refract the sun's light, creating a rainbow effect.
Marston, who shoots professionally for a few Brisbane Private Schools, the University of Queensland, and the Queensland Government, says he's been photographing planes for three years but this is the first time he's captured rainbow contrails on video.
Specialized camera equipment -- and a lot of patience -- are needed to photograph the colourful contrails.
"I achieved the footage by using every bit of skill I have to capture an object that is smaller than a thumbnail when you look up to it from the ground," he says.
"I manually tracked the plane with my video set up on a tripod and the stills were captured handheld."
In an interview with CNN, Marston said the process is a bit like fishing.
"I enjoy the thrill of catching something -- and also have the agony of going out and catching nothing. It can be rewarding and at the same time absolutely frustrating."