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There will be rainbow clouds above New York tonight

Rebecca Fontana

It’s not a sign of the apocalypse, just NASA testing something that we’re 98 percent sure won’t wipe out civilization.

Tonight, between 9:04 and 9:19pm, NASA rockets will release rainbow clouds—barium, strontium and cupric-oxide gas—that will appear as red, blue and green vapor in the atmosphere. The test will happen in Virginia but should be visible along the East Coast from New York to North Carolina.

For all you science nerds out there, the rocket launch is to study the ionosphere and aurora. (Anything that could possibly make it easier to know when to see the northern lights sounds great to us.) The test involves launching 10 soda-can-size canisters into outer space to release vapor tracers, or rainbow clouds, which scientists can then observe from the ground. Afterward, the canisters will plummet into the Atlantic Ocean.

You can watch a live-stream of the experiment here. It’ll be even cooler than last fall's super moon.


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