NASA Rocket Launch Studies Northern Lights (Photos)

VISIONS Sounding Rocket Ready

NASA/Goddard

A NASA Talos--Terrier-Oriole-Nihka sounding rocket stands ready for launch at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, waiting for the right launch conditions on Feb. 5, 2013. The rocket and VISIONS payload are enclosed in foam to help maintain temperatures.

VISIONS Launch

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

On the night of Feb. 6, 2013, a green aurora appeared in the Alaskan night sky. Conditions were finally right to launch VISIONS.

VISIONS Rocket Launch

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

On the night of Feb. 6, 2013, a green aurora appeared in the Alaskan night sky. Conditions were finally right to launch VISIONS.

Rocket Launch VISIONS Mission

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

On the night of Feb. 6, 2013, a green aurora appeared in the Alaskan night sky. Conditions were finally right to launch VISIONS.

A Green Aurora

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

On the night of Feb. 6, 2013, a green aurora appeared in the Alaskan night sky. Conditions were finally right to launch VISIONS.

Sun Sets Over Research Center

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

The sun sets over Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. This marks the beginning of the work day for a team of scientists hoping to launch a sounding rocket up into an aurora as part of the VISIONS (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) mission. Tis image was taken Feb. 2, 2013.

Checking the Systems at VISIONS Mission

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

VISIONS team members stand in the telemetry readout building to check the payload systems during evening tests two hours before the launch window opens on Feb. 6, 2013.

VISIONS Team

NASA/Goddard/Chris Perry

The VISIONS sounding rocket mission team, assembled on the night of Feb. 6, 2013 at Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska.

VISIONS Rocket Waits

NASA

A NASA Talos--Terrier-Oriole-Nihka sounding rocket stands ready for launch at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, waiting for the right launch conditions. The rocket and VISIONS payload are enclosed in foam to help maintain temperatures.

NASA VISIONS Rocket Flies Into Alaskan Aurora

Sebastian Saarloos

NASA-supported VISIONS rocket launched from Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska on Feb. 6, 2013. The rocket flew into an aurora to investigate its properties.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.