Ionospheric luminescence
June 23, 2003 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Ionospheric luminescence. Tonight. US East-coast skywatchers, look out for high, glowing clouds tonight between 9:30pm and 5:30am, as NASA fires rockets carrying combustible chemicals into the sky to study our planet's ionosphere. (Thank you, Spaceweather.) This reminds me, just a bit, of Projects Argus and Starfish.
posted by brownpau (10 comments total)
NASA's Wallops Flight Facility has a Realplayer webcast page here which gives us a launch window between 9:30pm and 2:24am.

Those of you with further interest in the above-linked high-altitude nuclear tests can check out the OSTI's historical films database, and this nuclear test image gallery, which includes a couple of Project Starfish jpegs: (1, 2). More old links dredged up from here, here, and here.
posted by brownpau at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2003

I am afraid I won't be able to see them from GA, but I may look up anyway. I remember a long ago series of similar tests involving glowing clouds of "fuel" of some sort released into the upper atmosphere. We looked at them in Maryland in the late 1960's, but I can't find any info about them and was too young at the time to remember a lot of details.
posted by TedW at 12:31 PM on June 23, 2003

The 'burb I'm in is so darn light-polluted, I don't know if I could even tell the ionospheric luminescence from the generalized backscatter off of all those strip-mall and fast-food-chain lights.
posted by alumshubby at 1:14 PM on June 23, 2003

this kinda "heads up" is why i love metafilter. Thank you, brownpau.
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:36 PM on June 23, 2003

I saw one of these or something similar once when walking home from the store. It was like a giant emerald donut. It flashed, opened and faded in seconds--and this was under streetlights. I thought I'd finally seen a UFO. I called the UFO hotline the next day and they gave me the skinny: a missile launched form under a B-52's wing.

Anybody here seen a UFO? Any Close Encounters or Implants in this crowd?
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on June 23, 2003

Yeah, give us the story...what's up with those anal probes, anyway? Proctologists from beyond the stars?
posted by alumshubby at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2003

Whoo--there's a goldmine for them here
posted by y2karl at 2:18 PM on June 23, 2003

FYI, the launch was scrubbed Monday, 11:30, " because of a lack of science activity." They'll try again tomorrow, presuming they can scrounge up some more scientists.
posted by eatitlive at 8:47 PM on June 23, 2003

They're trying it again tonight, hopefully starting at 9:30.
posted by emyd at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2003

Scrubbed thrice. They'll try again tonight (Thursday, June 26) after 9:30 [US] eastern time.
posted by Songdog at 5:35 AM on June 26, 2003

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