The NASA launch in Virginia on Sunday, May 9 may provide a brief light show of the eastern part of the United States, including Michigan.
It was originally scheduled to start on Saturday, but the launch was postponed due to strong winds.
Get Started ❗ The rocket launch that sounds tonight has been postponed until 8:03 pm on Sunday, May 9th. Launching has been postponed due to high altitude air not being within the limits required for safe launch. The launch window for Sunday will run until 8:43 p.m.
– NASA Wallops (ASNASA_Wallops) May 9, 2021
Launched from NASA’s Wallops Airport in Virginia, it aims to explore energy transport in space using NASA’s subatomic sound rocket, which could provide a brief light show for residents of the eastern United States and Bermuda.
The work was scheduled for Saturday, May 8, with a 40-minute launch window before 8:02 p.m. Backup release dates run until May 16th. This release is visible in most parts of eastern America from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River, weather permitting. (It’s very cloudy in Detroit today)
A four-stage Black Brand XII rocket will be used to cover the release of barium vapor, creating two green-violet clouds that are visible for about 30 seconds. Barium vapor is not harmful to the environment or public health
This task is called the Kinetic Scale Energy and Speed Transportation Experiment, or Kinet-X, Designed to study a very basic problem in space plasmas, i.e., how energy and velocity are carried between different parts of a magnetically connected space?
At an altitude of about 217-249 miles and 540-560 miles in the Atlantic Ocean it will release steam from the Wallops and about 9 minutes 30 seconds to 10 minutes after launching north of Bermuda.
As soon as the vapor is released, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and violet, but that phase lasts only about 30 seconds as the ionized component of the cloud propagates. Vapor clouds quickly ionize and acquire a violet color after exposure to sunlight.
The ionized part of the cloud binds to the magnetic field lines and propagates parallel to the field lines, but not perpendicular to it. At latitudes in the mid-Atlantic, the field lines are inclined approximately 45 degrees to the horizontal, so violet clouds look like narrow tracks rather than elongated clouds in the oblique orientation. Because the motion of the neutral part of the clouds is not controlled by magnetic field lines, they spread very quickly and become much thinner to the naked eye than ionized elements.
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