NASA To Launch Colorful "Clouds" On The East Coast

Photo: Courtesy of NASA.
If you missed last week's blood moon due to pesky clouds, well, there's another reason to look to the sky this evening. But this time, the clouds are what you'll be looking for.

According to Gizmodo, NASA will launch a single "sounding" rocket (a type of research rocket) at the Wallops Flight Facility in Chincoteague, VA at some point between 7 and 9 p.m. on the evening of October 7. During this time, NASA explains, it will be testing the Black Brant "sounding rocket, launch vehicle and spacecraft systems, and sub-payload ejection technologies."
But this is no ordinary rocket launch. Residents of the mid-Atlantic region will be able to see brightly colored trails in the night sky. According to NASA, the rocket's test payload ejection technologies will send out mixtures of barium and strontium — both elements used in fireworks — some 130 miles up in the air. The result? Colorful clouds of those elements' vapors, hazing up the sky.

Timing-wise, expect to see these clouds "approximately six minutes after launch," NASA's website says. The barium vapor will create a green, hazy cloud; strontium will be seen as red.
Advertisement
The purpose of the test is to gauge whether the rocket is capable of deploying payloads in suborbit, a function that would eventually be used to launch micro-satellites into orbit around the earth. The vapors that will be visible during tonight's display help track the altitude of the payload ejections and visually show wind patterns in the upper atmosphere. For most of us, though, this all just means an extra layer of "wow" while stargazing.
NASA says stargazers in Long Island and New York, as well as Virginia and North Carolina, should be able to see the Christmas-colored launch. Get ready for an overloaded Instagram feed.

More from Tech

Remember when dorm drama just meant your roommate eating the last of your Oreos without asking, or talking on the phone too loudly while you were trying ...
Chrissy Teigen, the model turned TV host turned cookbook author, has amassed Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat followings in the millions. The secret to ...
A Google search for "mooning" pulls up expected results: some news articles about protestors pulling down their pants, and the formal dictionary definition...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
Pokémon Go was this year's biggest app sensation. Within 24 hours of its launch, the game became a mega hit and has since seen users walking billions of ...
For the second time this month, earthlings of the Western Hemisphere will experience a special event involving our moon. Earlier this month, we got our ...
If you want to look up information about your favorite celebrities, your first instinct is probably to google them. But depending on who you're curious ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
Complaining today is much easier than it used to be. Lost luggage, bad service, extra charges, broken products — you used to have to put a letter in the ...
It's Google's 18th birthday which means it can finally see all the porn it serves up
Tonight marks the first of three presidential debates between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of the debate's close proximity to New...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) developed a phone app that will assist you in recording and reporting police conduct. The app, Mobile Justice, ...
If you aren't registered to vote, don't panic. As a matter of fact, thanks to Snapchat, you can now do it in just one minute, reports Time. The social-...
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your ...