The shuttle crew approached this storm system from its southern margin in the Gulf of Mexico. Notice that its margins are as clearly defined in the photograph as in the thermal satellite image, even though there are other clouds in the picture. The clouds in the storm system rise to about 55,000 feet. April squall lines of this type are often associated with tornado development across the southeastern states. By comparing this photograph with slide #3, the extent of the horizon of shuttle photography can be gauged. From their considerably lower altitude shuttle astronauts see much more detail but lose the synoptic view of the weather satellites. While the GOES satellite monitors weather on a hemispheric scale, the scene photographed by the Challenger crew extends from the beginnings of the storm in the Gulf of Mexico to South Carolina.
STS 41-C, April 1984. Picture #13-40-2130.