High Altitude Weather Balloons Launch

One research group is launching high altitude weather balloons in preparation for a NASA sponsored balloon flight during the total solar eclipse this August 21, 2017.  The group is comprised of physics, astronomy and engineering faculty, staff and students (including 3 FER students).  The test balloon launches take place on the grounds of the University of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park.  Their intentions are to launch a practice balloon each month and so far they have conducted three launches with varying degrees of success.  The balloons reach an altitude of 85,000 to 105,000 feet and the payloads consist of a streaming video, a still frame camera, temperature sensors and two different GPS tracking systems.  Several of the students are working on the main experiment which is to monitor for shadow bands both at altitude and on the ground during the eclipse.  The next flight is scheduled for this Saturday the 18th of February at 11:00a.m.  You can monitor their flights by visiting the Montana State University BOREALIS web site at