Rocket launch, colorful clouds visible this evening

Shortly after sunset tonight - you could get a glimpse of a rocket launch and research experiment NASA scientists are completing.

WASHINGTON (WUSA) - Shortly after sunset Tuesday night you could get a glimpse of a rocket launch and research experiment NASA scientists are completing. 

This rocket's mission is based in the earth's atmosphere, helping scientists study the ionosphere and aurora. Once it takes off, the rocket will travel over 90 miles high in the atmosphere over a four to five minute period, then fire canisters, each about the size of a soda can. Those canisters will be filled with vapors that will create artificial clouds and appear as blue-green and red clouds high up in the atmosphere.

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The launch window will open from 9:04 p.m. - 9:19 p.m. Tuesday. This will be visible along the east coast from New York to the Carolinas, and west to Charlottesville, Virginia. This includes the DC metro area. Scientists will be testing a new system to observe the ionosphere from earth and how they visibly track particle motions in space.

This will be the *seventh* attempt to launch. Last night's sixth attempt was scrubbed to due clouds. The five other attempts were canceled due to more cloud cover and other factors, such as high winds and too many boats in the hazard area.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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