Unusual Object in South Plains Sky Identified - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/27/08

Unusual Object in South Plains Sky Identified

Photo Courtesy: Chad Casey Photo Courtesy: Chad Casey

What was that object in the sky Saturday evening??

Many residents of the South Plains reported seeing an unusual object in the northeastern skies Saturday evening between 7pm and 8pm. Many calls came in to the station around 7:15pm.

It turns out that the object was a NASA scientific balloon launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. 

The balloons are used to conduct scientific experiments for NASA and very large.  They can be as large as a 60-story building and carry instruments that weigh up to 8,000 pounds or the equivalent of three cars according to NASA's Balloon Program Website.

They provide information about earth's atmosphere, gamma rays, x-rays and other scientific phenomenon which can be used to assist the space flight program.

The balloon was traveling at an altitude of 20 to 25 miles high when it was observed over the South Plains Saturday evening and was visible in the northeast skies for about an hour. 

The National Weather Service in Lubbock and Amarillo confirmed earlier in the evening that it was not one of their balloons, but a research balloon lifted from Fort Sumner. 

More information about the balloons can be found on their website by clicking here.

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