Photos of the Day: NASA Test Creates Artificial Aurora

30 June, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • This shows how soon communities near Virginia will see the colorful clouds

On Thursday, June 29, after numerous delays, the early morning skies along the mid-Atlantic coast came alive with luminescent clouds as NASA checked out a new deployment system. that supports science studies of the ionosphere and aurora.

Early Thursday morning, the Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket launched from Wallops Island, Virginia, with a payload of colorful chemicals.

After a month of trying, NASA finally launched one of its small sounding rockets from the coast of Virginia, creating a delightful mix of colorful clouds in the upper atmosphere.

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The total flight time was around eight minutes.

'The canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch blue-green and red vapour forming artificial clouds, ' according to NASA.

The vapor tracers are formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide. The red and blue-green clouds are expected to be visible from NY to North Carolina and as far west as Charlottesville, Virginia.

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During the flight, ten canisters, about the size of a soda can, were deployed into the atmosphere around 6 to 12 miles (9.65 to 19 kilometers) away from the 670-pound (304 kg) primary payload.

The clouds, also called vapour tracers, are released at 96 to 124 miles above the surface, and pose no risks to people down below, the space agency says.

A spokesperson for NASA said: 'The development of the multi-canister ampoule ejection system will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously allowed when deploying the tracers just from the main payload'.

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The original launch date was May 31, but weather and other conditions delayed the launch several times.

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