June 4, 2017 Bill Still

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NASA Test - Multi-Colored Clouds for Mid-Atlantic, 1657

Synopsis: How about something a little lighter than my usual fare?

If all goes as planned early risers tomorrow morning along the Mid-Atlantic of the U.S. may see a very colorful NASA high-altitude test.
A high-speed sounding rocket will be launched from the NASA facility at Wallops Island, Virginia – one of the barrier islands – which is designed to create very high-altitude, multi-colored clouds to test upper atmosphere wind patterns.


This is similar to previous experiments– just bigger. In the past, the clouds may seem to explode into view, sort of like fuzzy fireworks. Depending on conditions in the upper atmosphere, the clouds could be several times the diameter of the moon, or larger and glow with prismatic colors.

“Since observers must be in darkness while the barium cloud is in sunlight, the technique is limited to … observations near sunrise,” said a NASA release.
The experiment has a 17-minute launch window beginning at 04:25 am, Eastern. The multi-colored clouds may persist for as little as 2 minutes, to as long as 20 minutes.
We traveled to Wallops Island yesterday in an attempt to film the event, but the mission was scrubbed. Weather conditions are very favorable tomorrow morning and if it is launched, officials expect a rash of UFO reports form the colorful display.

Mission updates are available by phone on the Wallops launch status line at 824-2050. Live coverage is available at Space.com starting at 03:45 am eastern. Twitter status is available here: .

Wallops also has an app. For iOS or :

There is also an android app.

If anyone gets good pictures or video, please send it to me. If you want attribution, that’s ok too.

Now, tomorrow night – Friday – we’ll be on the couch again at www.theCouch.tv from 9:45 to 11:30 and we will have our drawing for this 5-ounce silver coin. This coin was donated by Charles Thorngren of Nobel Gold and Silver.