NASA will put on a colorful cloud show for the East Coast tonight
East Coast-ers should take a look up tonight, because NASA is putting on a show. As part of an experiment to track how particles move in space, researchers are releasing bright, color-changing vapors into the sky.
A little after 9PM, scientists at Virginia’s Wallops Flight Facility will launch a sounding rocket containing 10 small canisters loaded with barium, strontium and cupric-oxide. Around five minutes after the rocket launch, the canisters will deploy and release their contents, which will form colorful clouds known as “vapor tracers.” Those clouds will let scientists on the ground track how particles move in space.
The vapors should be visible to residents living as far north as New York and as far south as North Carolina. And the clouds will range from blue- to red-hued. This launch has been postponed four times for various reasons. So, here’s hoping for an obstacle-free evening for the researchers.
For those outside of the mid-Atlantic coast, you can catch a livestream of the event here beginning at 8:30PM Eastern. The launch window is open from 9:04PM to 9:19PM Eastern with the vapors appearing between four and six minutes after launch.