Residents from New York to North Carolina may see a rare light show high in Earth’s atmosphere. But when?
After previously postponing the launch due to weather conditions, NASA planned to launch a rocket from Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s eastern shore some time between 9:04 and 9:19 p.m. Tuesday night. That launch was scrubbed at the last moment, due to cloudy conditions.
When the rocket does launch, people in North Carolina could see blue-green and red artificial clouds created in the sky as part of an experiment to study the ionosphere and aurora, according to NASA.
About 10 soda can-sized canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch (between 96 and 124 miles high), releasing blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space. The clouds may be visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from New York to North Carolina.
The clouds will not pose any hazards to people on the ground, according to NASA.
NASA had planned to launch on Monday, the sixth attempt for this mission, but also had to cancel it because of clouds. A variety of issues have caused previous mission scrubs, including high winds, clouds and boats in the hazard area.
Future launch updates will be available via the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites.