Research balloons light up northern sky - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Research balloons light up northern sky

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

A flood of viewers called in to the KCBD Newsroom Friday night, concerned about a strange pair of lights in the northern sky.

A lot of people are watching the sky this weekend, anticipating the imminent fall of NASA's UARS satellite, but these lights came from a different kind of NASA project - one that flies a little closer to home.

The National Weather Service identified them as part of a research project launched out of NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, NM.

The weather service released a statement about the balloons Friday night:

"These balloons were located around 115,000 feet in altitude and located near Canyon, TX and Clovis, NM around sunset.  These balloons are often launched in the fall and are best viewed around sunrise and sunset.  Depending on the winds above 100,000 feet, these balloons may become visible around sunrise again on Saturday morning, September 24th."

Joe Jurecka, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service adds, "We're not exactly sure where they will be at sunrise.  I'd suspect between Lubbock, Abilene, and Midland..."

Jurecka says balloons like these are visible "just about every Fall."

You can track the progress of these balloons on the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility web page at http://towerfts.csbf.nasa.gov/

CORRECTION: Our early reports identified these as "weather balloons," when in fact the National Weather Service had correctly identified them as NASA research balloons. KCBD regrets the error.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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