High Altitude Balloon Visible from Central New Mexico

On September 22nd, 2012, a high altitude research balloon was launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico (CSBF). The balloon was visible from central New Mexico with the naken eye, especially in the afternoon and early evening hours.  The picture below was taken around 430 pm MDT from the NWS Albuquerque office.


The photos below were taken in Tijeras by Becky Ramotowski using a Lumix GF-1 hand held up to the eyepiece of a 128mm refractor telescope.  The first image was captured at around 1030 am MDT.


 photo of high altitude balloon taken through telescope

Here is a close up of the balloon taken several hours later as the balloon drifted to the east toward Albuquerque.




Even more detail was captured by Becky in the image below:

photo of high altitude balloon taken through telescope

Here is a view as the sun set and illuminated the balloon against a darkening sky:

photo of high altitude balloon taken through telescope


If you don't own a telescope, binoculars offered a fairly good view of the balloon.  This photo was taken through binoculars by Alex Burd of New Mexico.

High altitude balloon through binoculars


You can follow the progress of the the NSBF balloon tracks on a map courtesy of the NSBF.

For more information, visit: http://www.nsbf.nasa.gov/balloons.html

NWS Albuquerque, and other NWS offices across the country, release radiosondes twice each day. The NWS balloons are much smaller than those used by the NSBF and the flight is only about 1.5 hours long.  The balloons we launch are only visible for about the first 10 minutes following release.


photo of radiosonde launch

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