NASA’s rocket launch tonight: When you can see it in the night sky

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(CBS/WOWK) — UPDATE: After multiple attempts and the weather not cooperating, they’ll try again tonight (Wednesday 5/12) so look at the maps below for the updates!

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Rockets are going to be flying through the evening sky this Friday!

It’s not every day you have the chance to see a NASA rocket hurtling over the Atlantic, but this Friday evening might just be your shot!

NASA is set to launch a “Black Brant XII sounding rocket” from their Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia this Friday at 7:58 p.m. If skies are clear, the launch should be visible to folks up and down the eastern seaboard.

If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the rocket on Friday evening, it should be visible to our southeast between 30-60 seconds after launch (assuming the launch goes off on time at 7:58 p.m). If the weather interrupts and cancels the launch itself (possible), there are several more launch windows running through May 16th.

You can see the rocket launch 30-60 seconds after it takes off.
Predicted cloud cover may hamper the visibility in our area.

The mission is called KiNet-X and the goal is to study how energy and momentum is transported between regions of space that are connected magnetically.

This study will help scientists better understand things like Auroras and how they are formed and their movement from place to place.

To study this, the rocket will release a barium vapor about 9-10 minutes into the flight just north of Bermuda at an altitude of over 200 miles. Don’t worry, this vapor is not harmful to the environment or the public, in fact, it isn’t even likely to be visible to the human eye. NASA will be studying this vapor release however with all kinds of diagnostic instrumentation onboard the rocket. NASA calls this “a very simple experiment. . . that will allow us to quantify the flow of energy to electrons”. Typical day at the office.

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