Watch Tonight as NASA Tries to Create Artificial Clouds


The Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket is expected to create a multicolored light show of blue-green and red clouds visible on much of the East Coast, from NY to North Carolina.

After launching the rocket, the team will send up ten canisters which will release blue-green and red vapor, known as vapor tracers, to create artificial clouds. At the same time, the multicolored clouds will allow researchers to track the movement of particle motions in space.

There are 10 canisters of chemicals on board this rocket, which will begin to deploy about 4 minutes after launch.

People as far north as New York City may be able to see the psychedelic space clouds appear low on the South-Southwest horizon.

The launch was supposed to take place on June 11, but it was rescheduled for today due to boats being in the vicinity, potentially exposing them to being hit by rocket parts.

If you are north of the launch site - say, in Washington, Philadelphia or NY - the clouds will appear in the lower southeastern sky.

If you happen to scan the sky tonight a little after 9 p.m. and see green and red clouds, don't worry, your vision isn't going. The current plan is to count again tomorrow night.

NASA will launch a rocket carrying barium, cupric-oxide, and strontium to the atmosphere. The mission is a technology demonstration flight to test a new ejection system for the canisters, which will aid future studies of Earth's ionosphere and auroras, they added. The US space agency will send a rocket up to create artificial, colorful clouds as a method to study auroras and the ionosphere.

The vapor clouds will be visible from NY to North Carolina.

If you live near the Wallops Island area, you can visit NASA's Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center to watch the launch.

This project also aims to test the new multicanister ejection system that could help the scientists gather data over a wider area than has been possible. The vapors will turn into artificial clouds that may be visible when viewed from the ground.

Although the flight will last about eight minutes, the colorful clouds could linger for 20 minutes, depending on atmospheric conditions.

Previously, the clouds could only be released in the immediate area of the payload.

NASA has been trying to get this sounding rocket up for a while now.