February 24, 2018

NASA Created a Dazzling Artificial Cloud Display Last Night

30 June 2017, 12:57 | Ruben Fields

FINALLY! NASA rocket launches from Wallops, creates colorful light show

NASA sounding rocket launched creates colourful artificial clouds on US skies

A NASA sounding rocket launched early this morning and lit up the skies over the U.S. East Coast with colorful clouds, ringing in an early July 4 celebration.

But at 4:25AM ET this morning, the sounding rocket finally got off the ground from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, reaching an altitude of 118 miles.

The whole mission lasted about eight minutes before the payload landed in the Atlantic Ocean, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) out to sea from its launch point.

The blue-green and red artificial clouds, deployed between four and six minutes after take-off, are used to track particle motions in space. And thanks to a new method of releasing the canisters, the clouds could be seen for many miles around, from North Carolina to NY.

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A total of ten soft drink-sized canisters were released in the air at an altitude of 96 to 124 miles. This particular flight includes a multi-canister ampoule ejection system which enabled the tracers to spread over a wider area than before.

Ground cameras located at Wallops and Duck, North Carolina, monitored the vapor tracers. which provide their results through an interaction with barium, strontium, and cupric oxide.

As one might imagine, such a highly-visible event was witnessed by a large amount of people.

It was clear along the coast of Virginia, and if you looked closely, you might have seen some glowing spots in the clouds around D.C. and Baltimore, and even into Pennsylvania. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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