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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Giant Balloon Launches Sun-Studying Telescope


The Sunrise solar observatory launched on its second-ever mission at 1:37 a.m. EDT (0537 GMT; 0737 local time) Wednesday from Sweden's Esrange Space Center, borne aloft by a 427-foot-wide (130 meters) helium-filled balloon.

Sunrise is now zipping westward at an altitude of 22 miles (35 kilometers) or so, where the thin air affords it a relatively clear view of the sun. The mission is taking a polar route toward its intended landing zone in northern Canada to catch the maximum number of rays. [Stunning Photos of Solar Flares & Sun Storms]

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