A Balloon Bigger Than a Jet

Geek Culture

The National Center for Atmospheric Research recently launched a solar telescope by balloon. Not so amazing until you see that the balloon was bigger than a 747!

The project, codename Sunrise, traveled about 120,000 feet above the Earth to take pictures of the Sun’s magnetic field.

At an altitude of 120,000 feet, the telescope will rise above most of the turbulence of the atmosphere and ultraviolet-absorbing water vapor and ozone. It will be able to view stable images in the ultraviolet range, which allow for higher resolution than can be obtained from Earth’s surface.

The balloon/telescope test is also covered over at Wired Science (which also has a cool gallery of pics), but was worth a mention if only to inspire enterprising Geekdads to duplicate this balloon flight in their backyard. Oh, wait, you already did. O.K., so instead of still images, the goal is video like this footage of the Earth Sunrise captured while afloat.

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