JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There will be two different rocket launches at Cape Canaveral the next couple of days. The first will be a Falcon 9 Saturday night, then an Atlas 5 on Monday after lunch.
The Wallops Island launch, which has been postponed, seven times? Basically, for more than a week, is now scheduled to be launched, no earlier than 8:10 p.m. on Saturday night. Now, we will not see the launch here in Jacksonville, we could see the aurora like cloud.
For the various launches, weather conditions only look “so-so”, as too much wind is currently causing offshore seas to be too large.
Most likely to be scrubbed will be the Falcon 9 launch Saturday evening, as offshore seas may still be too big to land the booster (returning) rockets. I’ll give this a 60% chance of good enough weather.
Yet, in Wallops Island, Virginia, skies and wind conditions maybe just relaxed enough, both down low and near the top of our atmosphere, that they may be able to proceed with the Barium release. This release will allow for an artificial aurora borealis to appear in the sky. Fingers crossed on seeing that one. Let’s put the weather probability for launch at 75% for Wallops Island Saturday night.
The trouble for watching the Barium release and possible aurora borealis looking cloud, in Jacksonville, will be its location in the skies. It will be somewhat low on the horizon, which means distant clouds and, or, city glow (from city lights) may make it harder to see.
Another troubling aspect of seeing this will be it’s close proximity to sunset. Evening skies still hold twilight conditions through 9 p.m. so when trying to get a look at it, remember, the darker the sky the better the viewing.
The best (and the Atlas 5 rocket is a larger rocket) viewing may come at 1:35 p.m. Monday. Yes, it will be a day launch (not as spectacular as sunrise/sunset launches) but it should be easily seen as local sky conditions will be just partly cloudy.
Saturday 6:54 p.m. look to our Southern skies for a Falcon 9 and more Starlink satellites. Then spin you chairs to point northeastward for the “no earlier than 8:10 p.m. Saturday evening” release of the Barium cloud. Keep in mind, we will not be able to see the actual Wallops Island rocket launch here in Jacksonville (it will be too far away), but if we don’t have too many clouds, or light, we should be able to see the aurora looking cloud about 2-5 minutes after the launch. Finally, the Atlas 5 rocket will be on Monday at 1:35 p.m.