Startled frog photobombs Minotaur 5 rocket

In a viral photograph, a Virginia frog has been caught taking one giant leap for amphibian kind.

Chenda Ngak Editor / CBSNews.com
Chenda Ngak is CBSNews.com's Science & Technology Editor.
Chenda Ngak
A frog is seen jumping at the site of NASA's Minotaur 5 launch on Sept. 6, 2013. Chris Perry/NASA

Orbital Sciences' Minotaur 5 rocket blasted into space last Friday to kick off a much-hyped journey to the moon, but it's an Earthly creature that's stealing all of the limelight.

NASA captured the Minotaur 5's liftoff in a striking photograph that included smoke, fire, drama... and a frog? It appears that a local frog was alarmed by the rocket launch and jumped at the moment the photo was shot.

The Minatour 5 was carrying NASA's $280 millionLunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which aims to study the moon's atmosphere.

The Web site Universe Today speculates that the frog was startled by the launch, and that the amphibian may have been drawn to the pool of water surrounding the area. According to the site, a high-water deluge system protects the launch pad from damage and noise suppression.

CBS News has confirmed with a NASA spokesperson that the photo is authentic. It has since gone viral, making its rounds on media and social-networking sites. There are no additional details on the frog's conditions after its giant leap.

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.