Some Canadians might see colorful clouds of vapor from the NASA rocket launch on Saturday – fr

Some Canadians might see colorful clouds of vapor from the NASA rocket launch on Saturday – fr

TORONTO – Canadians living in the southeast of the country and parts of the Maritimes could be treated to a brief but colorful light show on Saturday if the launch of NASA’s sounding rocket goes as planned.

On Thursday, the space agency announced that the launch of a four-stage Black Brant XII sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops flight facility in Virginia has been postponed until Saturday, May 15, at 8:10 p.m. EDT at the earliest.

The launch has been cleaned up several times this week due to poor weather conditions and an issue with launch support during preparations.

The mission, called the KiNETic Scale Energy and Momentum Transport Experiment, or KiNet-X, aims to explore energy transport in space.

“Namely, how is energy and momentum transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected?” NASA said in a statement.

To do this, the suborbital sounding rocket will release barium vapor about 10 minutes after launch while it is just north of Bermuda.

Barium vapor is not harmful to the environment or to public health, NASA said.

“Immediately after releasing the vapor, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and purple, but this phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the un-ionized component of the cloud has dissipated,” said the space agency.

After exposure to the sun, NASA said the vapor clouds would quickly ionize and turn a purple color. The ionized part of the clouds will then be linked to the “magnetic field lines” and will diffuse in the sky.

“Purple clouds extend in a tilted orientation and look more like short trails than a cloud,” NASA explained. “Because the movement of the neutral part of the clouds is not constrained by the magnetic field lines, they spread out faster and become too thin to be seen with the naked eye much earlier than the ionized component. . “

NASA has also released a visibility map showing where the vapor clouds will be visible and for how long after the rocket has launched. In Canada, clouds should be visible for 60 to 90 seconds or 90 to 120 seconds depending on location.

Due to the later launch time, NASA has warned that KiNET-X clouds may be difficult to see because the human eye cannot see purple colors very well in the dark. However, interested viewers can still watch the launch live via the Wallops IBM video site in addition to looking at the sky nine minutes after the launch to see the clouds.


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