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Rocket flies into the northern lights

22 Feb 2012, 02:34 UTC
Rocket flies into the northern lights
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A rocket experiment sampled the stuff of the northern lights over the weekend, adding some scientific substance to the great auroral views we've been getting from Earth and space.
Saturday night's launch from the Poker Flats Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska, was part of a NASA …

A two-stage Terrier-Black Brant rocket arcs through an auroral display 200 miles above Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range as the MICA mission investigates the underlying physics of the northern lights. In this long-exposure photo, the rocket's first stage has just separated and is seen falling back to Earth. The green arc toward the top of the photo is a scientific laser that's shooting into the sky to make profiles of the atmosphere. The beam only appears curved due to the wide-angle lens used to capture the photo.By Alan Boyle

Follow @b0yleA rocket experiment sampled the stuff of the northern lights over the weekend, adding some scientific substance to the great auroral views we've been getting from Earth and space.Saturday night's launch from the Poker Flats Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska, was part of a NASA-funded mission called the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling in the Alfven Resonator, or MICA for short. The project involves ...

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