NASA Rockets Make Weird Clouds Near Edge of Space

1. Blazing a Trail

Photograph courtesy NASA

An ATREX rocket lifts off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday morning. The first rocket launched at 4:58 a.m. ET. Each subsequent rocket then took off 80 seconds apart.

Two of the rockets released their tracers over the Wallops facility, while the other three created clouds in a line over the open Atlantic. The multirocket experiment allowed scientists to track the jet stream winds hundreds of miles out—the farthest rocket made it from the U.S. East Coast halfway to Bermuda (map), NASA says.

2. Starry Show

Photograph by Jeffrey Berkes, My Shot

The ATREX clouds lighted up the predawn skies as far away as West Chester, Pennsylvania, as seen in a shot taken by resident Jeffrey Berkes, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) from the launch site.

“Once the chemical tracers from the rockets were released, the view was amazing,” observer Bryan Lauber of Frenchtown, New Jersey, told Spaceweather.com.

“The tracers were extremely bright and seemed to just fall out of the sky!”

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