On March 27, five
rockets leapt into early morning skies from NASA's
Flight Facility in Virginia.
Part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket EXperiment
begining at 4:58 am EDT the
rockets launched consecutively
at 80 second intervals.
Releasing a chemical tracer they created luminous white clouds
at altitudes above 60 to 65 miles, swept along by the poorly understood
high-altitude jet stream.
(Not the same jet stream that airliners fly through at altitudes of 5
to 6 miles.)
the mid-atlantic region of the United States,
the clouds drifted through starry skies,
captured in this clear photograph from East Point, New Jersey.
south toward the launch site, the tantalizing
celestial background includes the stars of Sagittarius, Scorpius, and
the more permanent faint, white, luminous clouds of
the Milky Way.