Early Spring Night Sky over New Jersey. NASA ATREX Mission. Early Morning Sky Lit Up By Five NASA Sounding Rockets.
Early this morning NASA launched five sounding rockets from Wallops Island, Virginia over a seven minute period 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 the startrails program 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.