Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.
They are creatures of the skies: gods, supernatural guardians. The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, fondly known throughout the aviation world as the "Herc," is one of the most dependable aircraft in existence, having hauled cargo for forces around the world since 1957. One of them hauled your humble reporter back from a NATO base in France once upon a time, in fact.
Angel wing flares are an anti-missile defense which is designed to confuse heat-seeking missiles; the intense heat of the multiple flares makes them more attractive targets than the bulky and slow Herc, which is (hopefully) spared.
They're also just frickin' cool.
A GIF perfectly illustrating this awesomeness comes from a 2009 video via Jalopnik. Not only does the flare look amazing, an angelic skeleton etched in fire, hanging in the sky, but the resultant cloud bears more than a passing resemblance to famous gods of the Internet—but we still haven't decided if it's Cthulhu or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
GIF via Jalopnik