This image depicts a United States Air Force C-130J dispensing flares on a training mission.
This phenomenon just so happens to be called the “Angel Flare”. When the flares are dispensed, the smoke leaves a trail and gets caught in the plane’s wing tip vortices. This divine image invokes chasmic feelings of both power and serenity. Very cool.
Photo credit: Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Buttner
Second Place. What I like best is how the smoke trails of the flares reveal the hidden physics of the aircraft’s wake.