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NASA Plans East Coast Rocket Launches to Track Winds

Skywatchers along the East Coast may be able to see a NASA experiment meant to learn more about the little-understood jet stream current at the edge of space.

Image courtesy of Facebook

NASA plans to launch five rockets in five minutes from coastal Virginia on a clear night between March 14 and April 4. They will release a chemical trail to track winds that circle the planet at up to 300 miles per hour in the thermosphere about 65 miles up.

Officials say the long, milky-white clouds should be visible for about 20 minutes from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to southern New Hampshire, and as far west as Morgantown, W.Va.

That covers major cities like Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, although it depends on ground lighting, cloud cover and the rockets’ trajectory.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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