Look Up: You Might Be Able To Spot 5 NASA Rocket Trails Shooting Across The Sky This Week

03/13/2012 1:39 PM |

Hey man, are you getting trails?
  • Hey man, are you getting trails?

Get out the plastic deck chairs and 3D glasses, everybody. In the early hours of Thursday, March 15, between midnight and 1:30 a.m., NASA will be launching five rockets from its Wallops Island facility in Virginia as part of an experimental study on jet stream winds. For about 20 precious minutes, us New Yorkers might be able to spot the rockets’ white cloud of chemical trails and their glowing exhausts from our roofs. Finally, the perfect opportunity to rush order a Buzz Lightyear snuggie.

The 200-300 mile per hour winds circle the earth in predictable patterns at an altitude above most plane flights, but not much is known about what drives them. The rockets will shoot across the sky for short trips of eight to ten minutes to allow scientists to better develop models of electromagnetic regions in space. When the trip is over, the rockets will crash back into the Atlantic Ocean and form artificial reefs.

The mission is being webcast live, starting at 10 p.m. March 14, from the project’s site, and you can also follow the launch’s status updates on Twitter. If March 15 fails, the backup dates are any other clear night through April 3. Go science!

[via City Room Blog, NASA]

You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone