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Saw a pink cloud? It came from a rocket launch.

You may have seen a colorful cloud in the sky on Wednesday evening. The source: a suborbital sounding rocket launched from Wallops Island.

NORFOLK, Va. — You may have noticed an unusual, pinkish cloud hanging in the sky Wednesday evening.

The cause of the cloud? It was the payload for a sounding rocket that launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore.

The rocket flew up to the edge of the atmosphere and released a small amount of vapor into the near-vacuum of space. NASA said it was only about the equivalent of two barbecue grill propane tanks and that the colorful vapor is completely harmless.

The mist was visible for about 20 minutes before dissipating.

NASA said the purpose of the scientific experiment was to study ionization in space, just beyond the reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

Credit: William T. Carroll, Jr.
This photo, taken at a local shipyard by William T. Carroll, Jr., shows a hazy cloud created by a sounding rocket launched from Wallops Flight Facility on March 3, 2021.

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