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NASA Rocket Launch Studies Northern Lights (Photos)

Wind-Weighting Balloon Launch

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

On the night of Feb. 4, 2013, NASA Goddard scientists watched a lighted wind-weighting balloon launch to measure the winds and see if conditions were acceptable for a sounding rocket launch in Poker Flats, Alaska.

The Final Days of Testing VISIONS Rocket

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

ISIONS Project Scientist Doug Rowland stands next to the payload during the final days of testing Poker Flats, Alaska before launch on Jan. 30, 2013.

View From Poker Flats, Alaska

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

A beautiful view with clear skies greeted the science team for NASA's VISIONS sounding rocket mission (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) on Feb. 1, 2013.

Aurora Over Bear Lake

Joshua Strang/USAF

This image shows a beautiful auroral display over Bear Lake, Alaska on Jan. 19, 2005.

VISIONS Mission Instruments

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

The VISIONS instruments are shown here on the table as the team gets them ready for flight. This image was taken Feb. 5, 2013.

Entrance to Poker Flats Research Range

NASA/Goddard

NASA's VISIONS (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) sounding rocket will launch in early February, 2013, from the Poker Flat Research Range – the entrance of which is shown here.

Scientists Wait to Launch VISIONS Rocket

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

On the night of Feb. 2, 2013, a team of NASA scientists waited in Poker Flats, Alaska to see if conditions were right to launch the VISIONS sounding rocket mission (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm). The mission studies what makes the aurora, and how it affects Earth’s atmosphere.

VISIONS: Seeing the Aurora in a New Light

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

A wind weighting balloon is launched to measure the winds on Feb. 4, 2013, at Poker Flats, Alaska in anticipation of the VISIONS (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) sounding rocket launch.

Poker Flat Satellite Station

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

Inside this geodesic dome is the 11-meter Universal Space Network (USN) Poker Flat Satellite Station antenna in Poker Flats, Alaska. This image was taken Feb. 5, 2013.

The VISIONS Team's Hotel

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

The VISIONS team's hotel, on the west side of Fairbanks, Alaska. This picture was taken on Jan. 27, 2013 when the air temperature was -40 C.

Group Photo of VISIONS Team

NASA/Goddard/D. Rowland

The VISIONS (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) sounding rocket team took a group photo after watching the Super Bowl on Feb 3., 2013. VISIONS will study the aurora, and the science team is waiting for the perfect conditions to launch in Poker Flats, Alaska.

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