SPACE, PHOTOGRAPHY, JOKES
Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/
Usually right at about 30,000ft a large plume develops behind the vehicle. This is water vapor at high altitude being boiled off into condensation. The exhaust coming out of the nozzles is >6,000F, so the water vapor in the general area boils off, creating these wonderful trails that follow it up to near 50,000ft.

Usually right at about 30,000ft a large plume develops behind the vehicle. This is water vapor at high altitude being boiled off into condensation. The exhaust coming out of the nozzles is >6,000F, so the water vapor in the general area boils off, creating these wonderful trails that follow it up to near 50,000ft.