Green sky at night, Nasa’s delight – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

Log In

Reset Password
BERMUDA | RSS PODCAST

Green sky at night, Nasa’s delight

Light fantastic: A green glow could be seen over Bermuda next week after a rocket launch by Nasa (Photograph supplied)

A light show to rival the famous Aurora Borealis will be visible over Bermuda’s skies next week.

But the glow of fluorescent green and purple lights will have no connection to the stunning natural displays often seen in the northern hemisphere.

Bermuda’s version of the light show will be man-made – caused by a rocket launch by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Nasa will be launch the rocket from Virginia next Friday night to conduct a study of space plasmas.

The experiment was designed to study energy flows in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Two barium vapour clouds emitted from the rocket’s payload will generate a magnetic field disturbance which is likely to energise electrons.

The reaction will create a green glow in the sky lasting for up to a minute.

A purple haze expected to last several minutes was predicted to follow.

Nasa said a US aircraft will shadow the rocket to monitor results.

Scientists from the organisation will be in Bermuda to record and analyse information.

Don Hampton of the University of Alaska Fairbanks is on island to assist with the monitoring.

Professor Hampton said Bermuda was the ideal location to witness the show and said people should not be alarmed.

He said: “We don’t like it when there are any surprises in the sky and we don’t want people calling the police asking where the aliens are coming from.”

A Nasa spokesman added that the barium vapour was not harmful to the environment or public health.

He said: “After exposure to sunlight the vapour clouds quickly ionise and take on a violet colour.

“Immediately after release of the vapour, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and violet, but that phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the un-ionised component of the cloud has diffused away.”

Live coverage of the mission will be on the Wallops IBM video site starts at 7.30pm next Friday.

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published May 02, 2021 at 9:04 am (Updated May 02, 2021 at 9:04 am)

Green sky at night, Nasa’s delight

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon