27-March-2012

NASA ATREX Mission. Early Spring, Early Morning Sky Lit Up By Five NASA Sounding Rockets.

Early this morning NASA launched five sounding rockets from Wallops Island, Virginia over seven minutes to study the jet stream in the upper atmosphere at the edge of space. Once the rockets reached the thermosphere they were set to release trimethyaluminum that would react to create a cloud of aluminum oxide. This mission has been canceled several times waiting for clear skies from New Jersey to South Carolina. I set up a Nikon D3x camera with a 14-24 mm f/2.8 wide angle lens and pointed it south east to capture an image every minute starting just after midnight to see if I could to catch something from the mission. The rockets were launched starting just before 5 AM (EDT).

The following is a composite of 40 images combined using startrails showing the release from all 5 rockets. You see the star trails, a couple of jet trails, all five of the ATREX rocket cloud releases and as a bonus a meteor trail.

NASA ATREX Jet Stream Study Lights up The Night Sky. Composite of 40 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec) processed using DxO Pro, and Startrails. (David J Mathre)
NASA ATREX Jet Stream Study Lights up The Night Sky. Composite of 40 images taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec) processed using DxO Pro, and Startrails. (David J Mathre)

I also created a time lapsed-video of the launch.

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

One thought on “27-March-2012”

Leave a Reply