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A long-exposure photograph of a sounding rocket launching into a night sky highlighted by aurora. The sounding rocket is a bright white streak, leaving from a snow-covered ground and moving from bottom left to upper right. A small break in the streak represents the first stage of the rocket burning out and the second stage igniting. A soft, green aurora frames the edges of the image, with many white stars speckled through the black sky. A bright green line toward the top of the frame is a lidar beam. A fisheye lens was used for the photograph, creating a curve for the ground and lidar beam.

NASA Sounding Rocket Launches into Alaskan Aurora

A sounding rocket launched from Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska, Nov. 8, 2023, carrying the DISSIPATION mission. The rocket launched into aurora and successfully captured data to understand how auroras heat the atmosphere and cause high-altitude winds.

Image Credit: NASA/Lee Wingfield

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