Rocket launch lights up Arizona skies
A trail of pink that traveled across the skies Wednesday morning in Arizona was the colorful evidence of a NASA rocket launch.
The research rocket lifted off from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at 5:27 a.m. Arizona residents from Queen Creek, Tucson and Lake Havaus City, among others, began tweeting about seeing a pinkish or purplish cloud flying in the air.
Cammy Montoya, a spokeswoman for the Army rocket range, confirmed the launch, which had been postponed Monday because of weather.
“We knew people would see something pretty interesting,” Montoya said.
The missile range described the pink vapor as harmless.
— WSMR (@WSMRPAO) February 25, 2015
Getting some calls about the purple hue in the eastern horizon this morning. My hunch is a rocket launch at White Sands, NM. #Tucson
— Jeff Beamish (@jeffbeamish) February 25, 2015
People are freaking out over a rocket launch 🚀
— Sickgirl13 (@HelenaRey13) February 25, 2015
According to a news report:
(The rocket) is designed to reach an altitude of more than 100 miles and will release a small amount of vapor into the near-vacuum of space to study processes responsible for the formation of the Earth’s ionosphere.
The sun will illuminate the vapor, and may cause colorful clouds at dawn over Southern New Mexico.
And that it did.
OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED! NO ALIENS..at least in this instance 🙂 Blob IS from a rocket launch. Don't worry, harmless!!! pic.twitter.com/FQzlZYswz8
— Liz Kotalik (@LizKotalik) February 25, 2015
Montoya said the colorful nature of the contrail wasn’t unusual, given that the sun was on the rise.